Maddow Engages in Shabby Lie of Omission About New Abortion Laws in N.D.

Among the most hilarious things uttered by Rachel Maddow came when she appeared on "Real Time with Bill Maher" last June.

Maddow was a guest along with Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie, publisher Mort Zuckerman and actor Mark Ruffalo. When Gillespie and Maher tried to pin Maddow down on whether she supported the health care law signed by then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006, the template for Obamacare four years later, Maddow got testy. (video, audio clips after page break)

"Leave me alone about Romneycare, all of you!" Maddow whined. "Listen, my job is to cover these things, not to tell you how I like them or not."

Of course, anyone familiar with Maddow knows that if her job at MSNBC was solely to "cover these things" and not opine about them, usually with arms waving and a multitude of goofy faces displayed, her show would last five minutes instead of an hour.

In addition to pounding into the pavement her opinion on every subject imaginable and then some, Maddow also has a habit of ignoring inconvenient facts. 

Last night she did it again -- pulled a Maddow, as the saying goes -- when the subject was among her favorite, abortion. The Republican-led legislature in North Dakota recently passed a string of new anti-abortion laws and here is how Maddow described this --

Now this year the North Dakota legislature has passed, in quick succession, a bill to ban abortion at six weeks, a bill to ban abortion at 20 weeks, a bill to close down the last abortion clinic in the state a la Mississippi, same bill, same strategy, and once again the old personhood, total ban plus say bye bye to the Pill, say bye bye to fertility treatment, the personhood thing will now go to the voters in North Dakota thanks to the legislature. It'll go to the voters like it did Mississippi and in Colorado where it lost so badly. The other ones, the other bills that I just mentioned, they are going to go to the North Dakota governor, Jack Dalrymple.

How odd indeed that Maddow, whose professed job is to "cover these things," neglected to mention that the North Dakota legislature passed another law last week outlawing abortions based on the sex of the unborn baby or genetic problems. After Gov. Dalrymple signed three anti-abortion bills into law today, his office released this statement --

I have signed HB 1305 which would ban abortions performed solely for the purpose of gender selection and genetic abnormalities.

I have signed HB 1456 which would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. ...

I have signed SB 2305 which requires admitting and staff privileges at a nearby hospital for any physician who performs abortions in North Dakota.

Notice how the law first cited by Dalrymple was the one ignored altogether by Maddow. When it came time to introduce her guest for the segment, Tammi Kromenaker, director of North Dakota's sole abortion clinic, Maddow stumbled repeatedly over Kromenaker's name and again ignored that troublesome law banning sex-selective abortions (audio) --

I know you have a lot to contend with this year. You have two different abortion bans that passed through the legislature, a third abortion ban set for a statewide vote (next year, defining human life starting at conception), the trap law which targets just your one clinic with new regulations designed to shut you down. I know you plan to fight most of this stuff. Are you optimistic at all? Do you think you'll win on any of these things?

As to be expected, Kromenaker was optimistic -- abortionists so often are when appearing on MSNBC -- and she also provided useful cover, playing along with Maddow's lie of omission about North Dakota banning sex-selective abortions, the fourth state to do so.

Why is this important? In a June 2011 Wall Street Journal review of "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men," a book by Mara Hvistendahl, Jonathan V. Last wrote --

In nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. This ratio is biologically ironclad. Between 104 and 106 is the normal range, and that's as far as the natural window goes. Any other number is the result of unnatural events.

Yet today in India there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls. In China, the number is 121 -- though plenty of Chinese towns are over the 150 mark. China's and India's populations are mammoth enough that their outlying sex ratios have skewed the global average to a biologically impossible 107. But the imbalance is not only in Asia. Azerbaijan stands at 105, Georgia at 118 and Armenia at 120.

What is causing the skewed ratio: abortion. If the male number in the sex ratio is above 106, it means that couples are having abortions when they find out the mother is carrying a girl. By Ms. Hvistendahl's counting, there have been so many sex-selective abortions in the past three decades that 163 million girls, who by biological averages should have been born, are missing from the world. Moral horror aside, this is likely to be of very large consequence. ...

"Historically, societies in which men substantially outnumber women are not nice places to live," she writes. "Often they are unstable. Sometimes they are violent." As examples she notes that high sex ratios were at play as far back as the fourth century B.C. in Athens -- a particularly bloody time in Greek history -- and during China's Taiping Rebellion in the mid-19th century. (Both eras featured widespread female infanticide). ... High sex ratios mean that a society is going to have "surplus men" -- that is, men with no hope of marrying because there are not enough women. Such men accumulate in the lower classes, where risks of violence are already elevated. And unmarried men with limited incomes tend to make trouble. In Chinese provinces where the sex ratio has spiked, a crime wave has followed. Today in India, the best predictor of violence and crime for any given area is not income but sex ratio.

Maddow, who spent much of last year railing against Republicans for a media-manufactured "war on women," apparently has no problem with abortion being used to target unborn girls. Just don't expect her to cover it. She'd rather look the other way.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts