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Anti-Choicer Claims Birth Control Pills "Don't Work" and Isn't Corrected By Newspapers

Jill Filipovic: This is what I mean when I say that the media is failing to do its job.
 
 
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This post, written by Jill Filipovic, originally appeared on Feministe

This is what I mean when I say that the media is failing to do its job. An anti-choice activist is quoted in an AP article run in the Denver Post as saying:

"Let's face it, they're in the business to kill babies for profit," she said. "First and foremost, they get young girls hooked on their birth control pills, which don't work," Hanks said.

Now, there are clearly issues with the first sentence in that quote, but I won't get into those. It's the newspaper's reaction (or lack thereof) to the second part that gets me. It is a medical fact that birth control pills do work. And they work astoundingly well. If you use them as directed, they're 99.7 - 99.9 percent effective. Even the typical use rates are pretty good -- BC is 92 percent effective even when women don't use it perfectly. So this isn't a matter of personal opinion. There simply isn't data out there backing up the statement that birth control pills "don't work."

When reporting a story like this, the news media does have an obligation to present both sides, and so I certainly don't fault them for including the anti-choice view. But they also have an obligation to inform the public and not promote false information. If someone is quoted as saying, "Yesterday, the President visited Togo," when in fact yesterday the President was in Russia, the reporter has an obligation to point out the president's actual location.

Jill Filipovic is a New York-based freelance writer and a law student at NYU. More of her writing is available online at her blog, Feministe.

 
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