“Fair and Balanced” Morning-After Pill News?
I received two emails yesterday, both linking to an AP story carried by FoxNews.com. For those of you who haven't heard, the FDA has just eliminated the prescription requirement that had been attached to the sale of the morning-after pill, giving women aged 18 and older the ability to buy the pills over the counter. While the FDA's decision is not particularly surprising, the AP coverage is disturbingly biased. Despite Fox's moniker, this story is anything but "fair and balanced". It barely mentions the ethical controversy surrounding these pills (saying only that Thursday's ruling capped "a contentious 3-year effort to ease access to the emergency contraceptive"). It goes on to state that the FDA decision is a victory for "women's advocacy" (implying that those who oppose the ruling are anti-women). Why not just say the ruling is a victory for emergency-contraception advocates rather than inserting the vacuous ideology that all women are inherently in favor of this measure? Finally, and most egregiously, the article passes off as fact what can only be called an extremely suspect assertion. In the fourth paragraph, we read this, "When a woman takes the pills within 72 hours of unprotected sex, they can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent. If she already is pregnant, the pills have no effect." (emphasis added) The only way that this statement can be true, is if you define pregnancy as beginning at implantation rather than at fertilization. You have to redefine the beginning of pregnancy, which many people have long advocated, in order to argue that these pills will have no effect on an already pregnant woman.
At the very least, the article should have mentioned that the definition of pregnancy's beginning is at the heart of this debate, and that the traditional definition is the one which must be scrapped in order to argue that these pills are non-abortive. Instead, they state as fact the more suspect of the two positions, make no mention of the debate, and give their readers, whether they support abortion or not, the illusion that these pills do not have the capacity to destroy an unborn life. Oh, and by the way, there are plenty of included comments from the pills manufacturer, but nary a statement from anyone who opposes the ruling. I have no problem with them laying out the arguments in favor of the FDA's ruling or a problem with them arguing in favor of redefining pregnancy. What I do find off-putting is their refusal to even recognize where the contention lies, to even mention it, or give their readers a chance to weigh the arguments and come to their own conclusion. Since the concentrated hormone levels in these pills compromise the nutrient-rich lining of a woman's uterus, they make it far more difficult for the already fertilized egg (blastocyst - a genetically distinct human being) to implant and grow. If it cannot implant, it cannot survive. Many people won't care about this, but many others will. That's why there is so much opposition to emergency contraception. It has nothing to do with being anti-women. It has to do with the concern that these pills are destroying innocent human lives. Of course, for the average reader to know that there is even a debate, they'll have to look beyond the AP, and they'll also have to look beyond the "Fair and Balanced" reporting of FoxNews.
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.