From the November 30 edition of Premier Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Since the release of deceptively-edited videos smearing Planned Parenthood, right-wing media have frequently compared abortion providers to the Nazis, referencing Auschwitz and the notorious experiments performed by Josef Mengele.
From the November 30 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
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From the November 30 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
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Following the November 27 shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood location that killed three people and wounded nine others, three major Sunday political shows -- Fox News Sunday, Meet The Press, and State Of The Union -- allowed guests to hype the false claim that Planned Parenthood sells "baby parts" based on a series of deceptively-edited videos from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).
From the November 20 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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On November 16, Washington state's Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a report on an investigation his office had undertaken at the request of GOP state legislators to investigate whether Planned Parenthood was illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue or performing illegal abortions. Although The Seattle Times reported the launch of the inquiry, it has as of yet failed to inform its readers of the investigation's report that cleared Planned Parenthood.
The Spokane, Washington newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, covered the attorney general's report on November 16 and ran a follow-up editorial three days later, which wrote "These findings should be repeated as often as the baseless allegations that the clinics in this state and around the country were breaking the law." The editorial further noted that "the allegations themselves... have done considerable damage," citing the apparent arson fire at Planned Parenthood clinics in Pullman, Washington and Southern California.
While the Spokane newspaper covered the report, Washington state's largest circulation newspaper, The Seattle Times, did not. The omission is notable because the publication covered the GOP lawmakers' initial calls for the state attorney general to investigate Planned Parenthood on July 27, in addition to publishing articles about other sources for donated fetal tissue in Washington state, and about Sen. Patty Murray's (D-WA) support for Planned Parenthood following a congressional vote against the organization.
The state attorney general has now concluded that there was no evidence to support any of the allegations that Planned Parenthood violated federal law or state laws involving fetal tissue donation or abortion procedures. In a letter to state lawmakers Ferguson wrote, "We found no indication that procedures performed by Planned Parenthood are anything other than performance of a legally authorized medical procedure."
Washington state GOP lawmakers had called for an investigation of Planned Parenthood stemming from the release of deceptively-edited videos produced by the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress.
image via creative commons
A recent Texas Policy Evaluation Project study highlights how Texas' medically unnecessary abortion restrictions that were passed into law under the false right-wing media guise of protecting women's health actually place them at risk. The study predicts that women are more likely to self-induce abortion "as clinic-based care becomes more difficult to access" -- a particularly poignant consequence of restrictive abortion laws in a state where such restrictions have already shuttered at least half of Texas' clinics.
On November 13, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear Whole Women's Health v. Cole, a challenge to HB2, a Texas law passed in 2013 requiring all abortion providers to employ doctors that have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and to meet the standards for "ambulatory surgical centers." If not stricken down, the law could eventually shut down 75 percent of the state's clinics.
A November 17 study conducted by the University of Texas' Texas Policy Evaluation Project predicted that if the Supreme Court fails to overturn the law and clinic access is further restricted, "abortion self-induction will increase," "[g]iven that the populations ... found to be most familiar with abortion self-induction are among those that have been most directly affected by the closure." The study also found that at least 100,000 and as many as 240,000 women between the ages of 18 and 49 in Texas have attempted to self-induce an abortion. Histories of self-induced abortions are most prevalent among women who reported facing significant obstacles to reproductive healthcare in the past, and among Latina women living in a rural area of Texas that has seen several clinic closures.
The very law that numerous media outlets believe could force some Texas women to self-induce abortion by severely restricting their access, was passed based on right-wing media myths. Texas lawmakers pushing for the 2013 legislation insisted that women's health clinics were unsafe and required increased regulation, capitalizing on a that myth originated by anti-choice activists. At the time, media helped give this claim oxygen: multiple Fox News figures claimed the law's restrictions were medically necessary and would make women safer, and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote that the law would simply make clinics "meet certain medical standards." Today, Fox News is still peddling the GOP claim that these anti-choice restrictions are in the best interest of women's health, despite the fact that medical experts agree that the measure is based on medically inaccurate information and that these regulations harm women.
The New York Times points out that while Texas abortions are down 13 percent since the passage of HB2, the study's authors do not attribute the decline to the measure -- they point to international evidence that abortion restrictions have done nothing to reduce the incidence of abortion -- only to encourage unsafe abortions.
The authors suggest it's actually more likely that "Texas women either traveled out of state, continued the pregnancy, or induced an abortion using the drug Misoprostol (known by the brand name Cytotec) or through 'herbs or homeopathic remedies, getting hit or punched in the abdomen, using alcohol or illicit drugs, or taking hormonal pills.'" While misoprostol has been endorsed by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals as a harm reduction strategy to mitigate the dangers of self-induced abortion, "unfortunately, women often have inaccurate information on misoprostol use, [and] [d]rug quality is also a major concern, with a variety of misoprostol products on the market that do not meet international standards, are poorly stored or have simply expired."
For these reasons, the Texas case before the Court has striking implications for the women of the 10 additional states that have enacted similar requirements for hospital-admitting privileges, as well as the six other states that have passed laws "requiring hospital-grade facilities that mirror the Texas law."
As Dr. Daniel Grossman, co-author of the study and professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, told reporters, "This is the latest body of evidence demonstrating the negative implications of laws like HB2 that pretend to protect women but in reality place them, and particularly women of color and economically disadvantaged women, at significant risk."
Fox News' coverage of the announcement that the Supreme Court will review a Texas law that requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges and clinics to meet the same legal requirements as ambulatory surgical centers lacked comments from medical experts, instead only offering the perspective of Republican lawmakers. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which supports a repeal of the law, has stated that abortion is already a safe medical procedure and such requirements are not medically necessary for patient safety.
In The New York Times, freelance journalist Meaghan Winter called attention to the dangerous implications of conservative attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, which have been bolstered by right-wing media citing the repeatedly debunked deceptively-edited videos smearing the reproductive health care provider. As Winter explained, the consequences of defunding Planned Parenthood could hit low-income women the hardest.
Repeated Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood have been championed and propelled by right-wing media citing the series of deceptively edited videos released by the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress (CMP). CMP has been falsely smearing Planned Parenthood by baselessly claiming the health care provider profits from the illegal sale of fetal tissue. While this "campaign of deception" has been debunked repeatedly by media, experts, and several federal and state investigations, conservative media have continued to promote the falsehoods to attack Planned Parenthood. Right-wing media have also provided ammunition for lawmakers seeking to defund the women's health care provider by unrealistically claiming that community clinics could fill the gap if Planned Parenthood lost funding - an assertion that health experts have explained is impossible.
In a November 12 opinion piece for The New York Times, Winter highlighted the dire consequences of conservative attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. Noting that the most dangerous threats to the vital health care services provided by Planned Parenthood -- cancer screenings, ultrasounds, contraception and other services -- are occurring on the state level, Winter explained that "legislators in at least 11 states have proposed bills designed to restrict Planned Parenthood" just since July, when the videos smearing Planned Parenthood were first released. When Republicans fight to defund Planned Parenthood and these types of providers are shut down, Winter explained, "they leave low-income women with few alternatives for reproductive and preventive health care," and effectively force "thousands of women seeking low-cost health care [to end] up at crisis pregnancy centers." Winter noted that the effects of these crisis pregnancy centers, which are being funded by some of the very states trying to defund Planned Parenthood, often mean women are "coerced to continue" unwanted pregnancies "through misinformation or a lack of access," and consequently "lose control" of their bodies, education, finances, and futures:
The Republicans who voted in September to block Planned Parenthood's funding weren't protesting covering abortion with federal dollars -- that's been restricted since 1977. Instead, they want to prevent Planned Parenthood from providing cancer screenings, ultrasounds, contraception and other services.
The question is not whether the federal government will defund Planned Parenthood -- it won't -- but how many states will. Since July, legislators in at least 11 states have proposed bills designed to restrict Planned Parenthood from providing health care to low-income women.
When providers like Planned Parenthood are shut down, they leave low-income women with few alternatives for reproductive and preventive health care. While lawmakers say they'll transfer funds to community health centers, there are too few to meet the need.
Today, thousands of women seeking low-cost health care are ending up at crisis pregnancy centers. Nationwide, there are more than 3,000 anti-choice centers advertising free services, like options counseling, pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. They now outnumber abortion clinics by at least three to one.
These organizations and their friendly volunteers may seem innocuous, but the centers are often staffed by evangelical women who lack professional licenses and belong to religious organizations that actively discourage them from recommending contraception, let alone abortion. Two such organizations, Heartbeat International and Care Net, coach staff members to seem credible to "abortion-minded" women by scrubbing their websites, signage and waiting rooms of all evidence of their underlying evangelical goals. Staff members themselves say their centers are most appealing to young women without anywhere else to turn.
When a woman is coerced to continue an unwanted pregnancy through misinformation or lack of access, she loses control of her body, education, finances -- her future. The struggle for reproductive rights is inextricable from other movements for racial and economic justice. We will not achieve equal opportunity until a poor woman has the same sovereignty over her body and her future as a wealthy man. We must roll back the anti-choice legislation in our states that holds back equality.
From the November 10 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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A recent series of local TV news stories demonstrate how abortion stigma can be interwoven into news narratives through the use of misleading images and words to link the medical procedure to shame and regret.
Abortion stigma is broadly defined as "a shared understanding that abortion is morally wrong and/or socially unacceptable." It is a process by which a cultural condemnation for abortion is displayed and communicated, be it through state laws with an expressed purpose of deterring women from obtaining abortions or misleading media stories about abortion laden with emotionally-manipulative language and images.
A Charlotte, NC-based Fox affiliate recently pushed this stigma by devoting a segment to promoting the work of an anti-choice group pushing an unproven and potentially dangerous method for so-called "abortion reversals" in situations where women were attempting to abort a pregnancy via medical abortion.
A San Diego-based anti-choice nonprofit, Culture of Family Life Services, has been promoting the unproven method of "reversing" a medical abortion by publicizing a hotline which would connect women with providers who would give them a series of progesterone shots - which the organization claims would stop a medical abortion from progressing. This course of treatment is not approved by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) who have said that for women who have taken the first course of drugs and don't wish to terminate, they should simply not take the second course and do not need large doses of progesterone to prevent the abortion.
It was within this backdrop that a North Carolina Fox station, WJZY, broadcast a misleading segment on a local general practitioner promoting this so-called abortion reversal treatment. The North Carolina news segment, along with the five additional local TV news affiliates that repackaged the report and aired similar segments, all used misleading images of seemingly very pregnant women to illustrate a story about first trimester abortion. In fact, medical abortion is only available to women within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, at which stage the fetus is less than an inch long. Yet the North Carolina station used several images of visibly pregnant women who appeared to be much further along in a pregnancy to illustrate the story of "babies... given a second chance" :
When the original story promoting abortion reversals was repackaged on other local TV news stations, even more images of visibly pregnant women appeared in those broadcasts such as images shown during Fox 8's segment in Cleveland, Ohio.
The WJZY story in North Carolina also used an image of an ultrasound of a fetus that is much further along in development than 9 weeks, according to an OB-GYN who has published a review of "abortion reversal" and told Yahoo Parenting the image used in the segment appeared to be a fetus at "about 26 weeks":
In addition to the misleading pregnancy images the WJZY reporter used, the rhetoric also referred to a first-term fetus as a baby throughout, such as when he described medical abortion as a procedure that "starves the baby of nutrients." Reporter Bill Melugin intoned in his segment, "A Charlotte-area doctor has found a way to save lives before they ever come into this world." And that "as a result" of this doctor's work, "babies...have been given a second chance along with their moms who once felt like they made a mistake."
The imagery of many women coming to regret their abortions is rhetoric that is promoted by anti-choice organizations but is not supported by existing evidence on women who have had abortions. In fact a study from the University of California, San Diego found that 90 percent of women who had an abortion expressed relief, not regret, after the medical procedure.
Two OB-GYN's reinforced this to Yahoo Parenting, saying that the WJZY story, "could make it seem that there are lots of women who regret the choice to have an abortion halfway through the process -- when, in reality, that situation is 'exceedingly rare.'"
When local news promotes anti-abortion messages and untested medical practices as a "major medical breakthrough" the public is misled and those who have had or have considered an abortion are vilified. Pushing a message that abortion is something that is bad for women is not just bad science, it's the type of abortion stigma that should have no place in unbiased journalism.
Several television stations ran segments promoting a controversial method for supposedly "reversing" a medical abortion that is promoted by anti-choice groups while failing to disclose that medical experts, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have said such treatments are unproven and are potentially harmful for patients.
Right-wing media outlets are stoking fears that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is on the verge of collapse; arguing that health insurance co-op failures threaten to shutter President Obama's signature health care legislation. But experts argue that ACA continues to control health care costs and expand insurance, and explain that the co-op failures are due to underfunding by Congress.
From the November 4 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
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