Journalist rips the mainstream media for mindlessly 'parroting anti-abortion bunk'

Journalist rips the mainstream media for mindlessly 'parroting anti-abortion bunk'

Since U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022 with its Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling, Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed a variety of anti-abortion laws — some more severe than others.

The more extreme laws forbid abortion six weeks into a pregnancy; others ban abortion 12 weeks into a pregnancy. To make matters worse, some anti-abortion activists (including the group Students for Life) and far-right Christian fundamentalists are also pushing for contraception bans — as they consider IUDs and birth control pills a form of abortion.

In an article published by The Intercept on May 27, journalist Judith Levine examines the use of the term "fetal heartbeat" in abortion-related reporting. And she argues that even mainstream media outlets like The New Yorker are helping abortion opponents by using that term, which she denounces as "anti-abortion bunk."

READ MORE: Anti-abortion activists take direct aim at contraception: report

Levine observes, "Not just the National Review…. or the Catholic press, but also, mainstream local and national news outlets, including CNN, The Associated Press, Reuters, U.S. News & World Report, and PBS, (have been) parroting the same descriptor of the inaccurately — and of course strategically — named 'fetal heartbeat' laws being debated or enacted in states, from Idaho to Iowa, Georgia to New Hampshire."

The journalist notes that according to Dr. Jennifer Kerns, a San Francisco-based OB-GYN, "There is no heartbeat at six weeks because the fetus does not yet have a heart." But that messaging, Levine laments, isn't being used enough in mainstream media.

"There are exceptions to the press' rote adoption of right-to-life language, New York Times' coverage among them," Levine explains. "For its part, the reproductive justice movement is finally upping its rhetorical game, renaming the heartbeat legislation 'forced pregnancy' or 'forced motherhood' laws. But the forced motherhood movement is constantly, often quietly, escalating the discursive battle. The 'unborn baby” has now been promoted in legislative texts to the 'unborn human individual.'"

READ MORE: Supreme Court delays abortion pill ruling

Find Judith Levine's full article for The Intercept at this link.

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