Abortion & Journalistic Tunnel Vision

The election cycle is enough to test anyone’s patience, and I am no exception. The grandstanding, the punditry, the hysteria…it’s steadily eroding my cool. The problem is not that I don’t care, I almost wish I didn’t, it’s that I care deeply. Even after I have resolved to keep my distance from the madness, I find myself being drawn back in. And here I go again…

I find it remarkable that in a country that is trending towards a prolife position, candidates who support the life of the unborn are treated as extremists. Inevitably, they are asked if they would prevent the victims of rape and incest from having an abortion. Some dismiss the question as a cheap ploy that is meant to embarrass the candidate. After all, the number of victims in this circumstance are few. I agree that the question is little more than a snare used by hostile journalists, but I welcome it nevertheless. The answer given reveals a great deal about the candidate’s compassion and conviction, and that is worth knowing.

What I don’t like is that prochoice candidates are not asked to defend their position. And I am not alone in my frustration, Trevin Wax joins me there. Recently, Trevin posted a blog in which he lists 10 questions that prochoice candidates are never asked. They are deeply insightful and I decided to share them with you.

  1. You say you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would approve of?
  2. In 2010, The Economist featured a cover story on “the war on girls” and the growth of “gendercide” in the world – abortion based solely on the sex of the baby. Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?
  3. In many states, a teenager can have an abortion without her parents’ consent or knowledge but cannot get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental authorization. Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?
  4. If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?
  5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?
  6. Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?
  7. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that “abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,” pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions. How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?
  8. You describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?
  9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?
  10. If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?

6 thoughts on “Abortion & Journalistic Tunnel Vision

  1. Wow – this needed to be written. Thank you, Eugene.

    I cannot pretend to understand rape or incest and the pain they cause, but if I profess that life begins at conception, I cannot say that abortion is acceptable in these circumstances. While these acts are horrendous, they are not the fault of the child and the punishment should not exacted on the child.

  2. If we discovered something even close to an embryo on another planet, we would claim that to be the biggest discovery in the history of mankind and the headlines would read “life found on another planet.”

  3. Our old (1957) edition of Webster’s Unabridged defines “viable” as “capable of growing or developing” – this describes a fetus at any stage if it left in the womb.

  4. Thanks, Eugene, for support of the unborn. I, too, am frustrated with the main-stream media refusing to face these obvious tough questions and using questions of their own to cause “gotcha” moments for pro-life candidates. This is reminiscent of the Pharisees’ questioning Jesus, particularly regarding the issue of rape and incest. If I were asked to counsel a prolife candidate, I would ask the questioner: why do we insist on discussing the “less that one tenth of one percent” (rape, incest, and life of the mother), and neglect the 99.99% (abortions for convenience only)? I ask you to first justify the 99.99 percent of abortions done solely for convenience, then I will consider your question. Good families are waiting for years for a baby to adopt and we kill millions of babies every year in our country. Secondly when asked by a questioner: Do you support reversing Roe vs Wade? most pro life candidates stumble over the answer. I think Jesus answered the Pharisees well when they asked about divorce (the question a trap similarly baited). I would advise a pro life candidate to answer with a similar response (reworded by me): The Supreme Court of our land has given us abortion without restriction because we want freedom from the consequences of our actions. I (pro life candidate) believe personally that abortion is morally wrong. Like moral crusaders for moral causes throughout history, anti-slavery, women suffrage, etc, I am fighting against the tide of public opinion. While I will oppose abortion and will speak against it with every fiber of my being, I realize that it is the law of the land and that law will only be changed when we change enough hearts that the people want it changed. Then I will proudly support reversing Roe vs. Wade.

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