Holding the media accountable

inkyLive Action News covered a story yesterday, concerning the media lying about the Pennsylvania Fetal Remains Act.  The Philadelphia Inquirer was mentioned specifically for its November 24th editorial entitled “Wombs over women”.  This particular piece of misinformation went on a tangent about House Bill 1890 shaming and intimidating women. When I first read the Inquirer’s editorial I knew I wanted to respond but put it aside for a week until I had an opportunity to really synthesize what they were saying and how I needed to reply (within their 150-word limit!).

I understand that people in general will not always agree with the premise that unborn children are just that – children.  And that the media may look through a distorted lens when communicating with their target audience but this particular article was a bold-faced lie.  What I cannot understand is how an op-ed could be written by the editorial staff without at least reading the bill.  It is as if they were playing whisper-down-the-lane and by the time the story reached Page C4 of that day’s issue it had turned into Armageddon for women.

Which brings me to my next point.  We all need to take the time to respond and interact with our local publications and point out their inaccuracies.  The Philadelphia Inquirer is a Pulitzer Prize winning organization.  They need to be held to a higher standard than just rumor mongering to grab headlines.  I urge everyone to contact them whenever they do not take the time to report accurately.  Journalism is important to society as is the discussion and learning from different viewpoints but the facts need to be clear before a valid discussion can move forward.  How many people read what they wrote and believe it to be true – that is what is frightening and what is holding us back from intelligently explaining the facts about abortion.  Below is my response to the Inquirer’s piece and here is how you can contact them whenever you know they have strayed from factual reporting:  inquirer.letters@inquirer.com

I have provided links throughout this story and the letter below so you learn for yourself how the bill reads, how the Inquirer reported on that bill and Live Action’s response to the Inquirer’s piece.  That is what reporting is – gathering the facts and disseminating them so that people can come to their own conclusions.  Not wildly taking hearsay, tying it to a popular novel and television series for dramatic effect and then forming an ill conceived conclusion which is then fed to the masses.

My response ( I have not yet been contacted by the Inquirer as to publication):

In the Inquirer’s November 24th editorial entitled Wombs Over Women, the factual basis for its comments are incorrect.  Pennsylvania HB 1890 (Providing for the Final Disposition of Fetal Remains) does not insert itself between a patient and her doctor and is not insensitive to a woman’s privacy.  It is not a requirement that a woman who has an abortion or miscarriage must follow. Republican State Rep. Frank Ryan who sponsored the bill specifically noted that it is voluntary The Bill is written so that it is an option that is available to parents before the child’s remains are removed from the premises and disposed of as medical waste.   The requirement is on the medical facility that if the remains of a child are left with them that the remains be buried or cremated instead of being disposed of as medical waste.  And a reminder that PA Democratic State Representative Wendy Ullman in discussing why this bill should not be passed casually referred to a miscarriage as “a mess on a napkin” and didn’t see the need for the respectful handling of fetal remains.   If you need to look for someone who is insensitive to a woman’s privacy, just look to her. 

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