The Corner

Tracking the Times’s Commentary on Sanctity of Life Issues

The mainstream media typically offers little in the way of interesting commentary on sanctity of life issues. Sunday’s New York Times editorial by Dorothy Samuels, a member of The New York Times editorial board and former executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, is certainly no exception. The whole commentary reads like a NARAL or Planned Parenthood press release. Throughout the editorial Samuels bemoans the incremental progress that pro-lifers have made at both state and federal level and encourages supporters of legal abortion to become more active.

In her op-ed, Samuels deems five particular pieces of pro-life legislation the “most harmful.” These are 1) waiting periods, 2) informed consent laws,  3) parental involvement laws, 4) clinic safety regulations, and 5) prohibition of abortion coverage in insurance policies. One wonders why Samuels deemed these particular pieces of pro-life legislation the “most harmful.” She never explains her methodology. At any rate, the editorial comes complete with a color coded map showing how many of the five “most harmful” abortion restrictions each state has enacted. Not surprisingly, states in the South and Midwest have been more active in passing pro-life laws than their counterparts in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

Of course, during the course of the op-ed, Samuels spins all of these laws in the most slanted way possible. Counseling sessions intended to let women know about sources of support for single mothers are “demeaning.” Parental involvement laws intended to protect minor girls from child predators pose “hardships” for teenagers.  When she mentions the safety rules, Samuels is quick to mention the regulations about hall widths. She fails to discuss commonsense requirements that a doctor stay on the premises until a woman is discharged and the mandates for emergency equipment in cases of cardiac arrest. 

Commentaries like this provide further evidence that elite opinion on sanctity of life issues does not reflect the attitudes of the rest of the country. Last month, Gallup released a survey which shows that informed consent laws, parental consent laws, partial birth abortion bans, and waiting periods are all supported by well over 60 percent of Americans. Furthermore, one would think the deplorable conditions found in Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia abortion mill and numerous examples of clinic misconduct captured on the LiveActionFilms videos would lead some fair-minded observers to conclude that there might be some merit in stronger limits on abortion. Unfortunately, the New York Times has once again demonstrated that they are too ideologically rigid to engage these issues in a thoughtful way.

Michael New is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan–Dearborn and a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute.

Michael New — Michael New is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, an adjunct scholar at the CATO Institute, and a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute. His research has focused on ...

Most Popular

World

The Bob Newhart Peace Plan

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE There’s a Bob Newhart sketch you probably know: A woman walks into a therapist’s office and says that her life is being spoiled because she spends all of her time obsessing over the fearful possibility that she will be buried alive in a box. His ... Read More
Law & the Courts

So Now What?

So now what? We have a name and an accusation, which is an improvement over the status quo ante. If you’re going to make an allegation of misconduct, this is how you do it: publicly, and attached to as much information as you have. Eternal shame on those who made specific calls before they knew what was being ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Manafort’s Guilty Plea

Paul Manafort’s guilty plea in the District of Columbia makes perfect sense. We’ve been speculating about its likelihood since Manafort was convicted three weeks ago on eight felony counts of bank and tax fraud in the Eastern District of Virginia. There was nothing to be gained for Manafort or Special Counsel ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Save the Democrats! Vote Republican

If you’re a long-time Republican voter, you’ve likely by now heard the growing and insistent and highly concerned media refrain: Republicans who truly care about America will vote for Democrats this fall. In RealClearPolitics last month, columnist Froma Harrop addressed the woes of Republicans in the age ... Read More