By Wesley J. Smith
The media already mostly ignores anti-assisted-suicide voices in its biased reporting on that issue.
Now, Physicians for Reproductive Health — an organization of pro-abortion medical and non-medical activists — is pushing the media to ban all pro-life voices from its reporting on abortion. From the organization’s open letter to the media, “Stop Giving Airtime to Anti-Abortion Extremists“:
We are writing today with a big request: stop giving air-time to anti-abortion activists. As the undersigned over 600 providers of abortion care, people who have had abortions and will have abortions, abortion advocates, and individuals who work with the media regularly, we could not be more concerned for the safety and well-being of our communities, in part because of the misinformation, disinformation, and inflammatory threats shared and encouraged by anti-abortion activists in the media.
Abortion is one of the most important moral, political, and cultural issues of the current moment. It will, of necessity, become a difficult discourse and debate.
These zealots, however, pretend that there is only one legitimate point of view. But this is ridiculous.
For example, many abortion absolutists claim that pro-lifers are “racist” because restrictions on abortion will “disproportionately” impact women of color (based on the demographics that African Americans have a higher percentage of abortions than white women). But it is an odd form of racism that wants more babies of color born rather than fewer. See what I mean?
The letter pretends that supporting abortion is based on scientific fact:
We know your reporting standards are to cover “both sides” of any debate. Allow us to be clear: Medicine and science are not up for debate. Health care is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of fact. And the fact is, abortion is not in the realm of theory or belief. Abortion belongs in health care, social services, and public health reporting.
What baloney. Science can tell us what is destroyed in an abortion — a gestating human being. It cannot tell us whether destroying that nascent life is moral, immoral, or morally neutral. The analysis of that question is found in the realms of morality, philosophy, political, and/or religious discourse. In other words, finding a proper abortion policy is not a question of objective fact, but precisely a matter of subjective opinion.
The letter also claims that giving a voice to “extremists” — meaning anyone who is pro-life — threatens the safety of workers in the abortion industry and encourages protests. Of course, no one should threaten, harass, or attack anyone, but these days, the ones doing most of the attacking and harassing are pro-abortion zealots against Supreme Court justices, crisis-pregnancy centers, and Catholic churches.
Only listen to “the real experts,” the zealots urge:
If you believe in the evidence-based reasoning of medical care, if you believe in keeping communities safe, and if you believe in centering the needs of experts of an issue, in this case people who have and provide abortions, then we ask that you interview and center the real experts of this area of medicine.
This call to the media to ban pro-life voices from the discourse — as if media’s reporting isn’t already overwhelmingly weighted to the pro-choice side — is not only profoundly anti-democratic, but it would heighten already too-hot community tensions.
This call for organized media censorship not only reflects the anti-democratic consequence of being is so caught up in one’s own supposed righteousness that disagreement becomes unbearable, but it is a fool’s errand. Pro-life voices are not going away.
Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with his permission.