In response to the WaPo article I wrote about this November, NPR’s Talk of the Nation got in touch with my charity of choice, Medical Students for Choice, to interview a doctor who is part of MS4C and did opt to perform abortions unlike the student profiled in WaPo. Apparently the interview with Dr. Rachel Phelps, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Syracuse, NY, was cancelled because the head producer refused to represent the doctor on air without also representing an anti-choice doctor.
Unfortunately (for NPR), MS4C had already sent out a press release to its followers telling them to keep a look out for the interview, and then had to send out a second release stating why the interview wouldn’t be aired. MS4C supporters were annoyed, and rightfully so, and flooded NPR with letters urging them to reconsider.
They did. The TOTN interview with Dr. Phelps is set to air on Monday. Meanwhile I, like MomTFH, am wondering why some controversial women’s health issues — controversial as it is that women may deserve some semblance of healthy living that may or may not involve their girly innards — aren’t treated like other controversial issues in the media. Why the emphasis on “moral” “balance” and equal time only when it comes to abortion, and not to, say, the environment? Or war?
Abortion is a legal, overwhelmingly safe, very common medical procedure, one of the most common surgical procedures in the country. The vast majority of the country supports the right for women to choose to terminate a pregnancy. The Alan Guttmacher Institute estimates between 30 to 40% of all women of reproductive age will have a pregnancy termination in their lifetime. Unfortunately, very few of these women will talk about it to anyone other than their immediate support circle, due to the stigma. Part of that stigma is due to many media outlets not thinking that a story about abortion is complete without having someone pointing out that some people think that it is immoral.
Many NPR shows, including TOTN, are successful at providing nuanced discussion of controversial issues without resorting to having one guest that calls the other guest immoral, one who completely disagrees with their legal ability to even do what they do…When you have on military experts or spokespeople, do you have a token pacifist on the panel saying war is wrong, or even someone who represents the 60%+ of us who think we shouldn’t be in Iraq? Just to remind everybody that some people think it’s immoral?
Maybe we should! And then we can start voting and legislating based on murky waters and human interest stories instead of on facts, or needs, or socio-political forecasts, or hell, the future.
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