A deeper look at NARAL’s “deep dive” in abortion coverage

By Laura Echevarria, Press Secretary and Communications Director

National Right to Life’s recently concluded 50th convention was a resounding success. Workshops were filled with pro-lifers wanting to learn about the latest issues affecting the pro-life issue as well as absorbing tips and techniques attendees could take home to make them more effective at protecting the right to life.

In the press room, NRL Communications’ staff was kept busy helping reporters with interviews and workshop information so they could cover relevant issues. Naturally, press coverage varies from convention to convention and depends on what issues are of particular interest to the pro-life movement in the weeks leading up to the convention.

Sometimes coverage is heavy—such as during an election year when we may have several camera crews. And in other years, the press members who attend represent mostly print or online publications.

Contrary to how the pro-life issue is often portrayed, this year press coverage was fair and balanced with reporters accurately portraying both the pro-life movement and our issues. Most but not all of the reporters covering the convention were from friendly outlets, but it was still a nice change to see our issue covered without hostility.

This makes abortion groups particularly unhappy:  fair and balanced coverage will never do. They pressure news reporters to report the pro-abortion viewpoint exclusively. 

Take groups such as National Pro-Choice America. NARAL will settle for nothing less than stories that show abortion in a favorable light and abortion  proponents are the heroes. To them, neutral coverage of the other side—us—is bad coverage.

Consider a report released on June 15th in which NARAL lamented the print media’s abortion coverage in the U.S. With a report that purportedly took a “deep dive” (only 20 pages long, BTW) they suggested four ways of “changing the conversation”—aka turn already favorably coverage into even more favorable coverage.

They point out that abortion is largely covered as a political and legislative issue, not a “health issue,” their preferred angle. Their suggestion to “fix” this issue is to have reporters talk to “experts” in the field of abortion.

Of course, “experts” to them means abortionists and those who advocate on behalf of abortion. They also suggest that reporters speak to “people who’ve experienced pregnancy or abortion”—by this they mean speaking to women who have had abortions.  

They conveniently ignore the many women and men who make up the pro-life movement who have experienced difficult or life-threatening pregnancies or who have had abortions. NARAL’s position is that only individuals who speak favorably about abortion after having one have the “lived experience” that reporters should turn to.

NARAL also suggests that reporters should note that “Americans support…maintaining Roe.” As we have pointed out many times, this statement is false and based on faulty polling data where pollsters assume the average American understands the scope of Roe.

A recent poll on abortion conducted by the Associated Press (AP),shows that support for abortion after the first trimester drops significantly. In a World Magazine article written shortly after AP released its poll results, NRLC’s Executive Director David N. O’Steen, Ph.D. made this observation: “[The poll] produced results that most people are not aware of: There has never been majority support for what Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton actually did.”

One other way NARAL suggests that reporters can change their stories to be even more biased in favor of abortion is to “Add context and intentional clarification around charged rhetoric”—and they don’t mean adding clarification to vague pro-abortion rhetoric. 

They assert that examples of “inflammatory” pro-life rhetoric include: heartbeat bill, infanticide, born alive, partial-birth abortion, abortion industry/lobby, abortion on demand, abortionist, crisis pregnancy center/women’s health center, late-term abortion, unborn child/preborn child, pro-abortion, dismemberment abortion, chemical abortion, and DIY abortions.

Not surprisingly, we often see reporters go to extremes to accommodate pro-abortion rhetoric and arguments, but this is never enough for groups such as NARAL. Pro-abortion groups use euphemisms, dodge questions that would require them to admit that the unborn child is a living human being, and will even outright lie—especially about who makes up the pro-life movement—if it furthers their goals.

NARAL’s “deep dive” on media bias would be laughable if they were ineffective and with little influence. Their report is just another way for them to forward an agenda that encourages reporters to use the language and sentence construction that favors abortion. All of this is part of a campaign to promote NARAL’s goal of having the mainstream media report the “facts” as they see them.