NBC, MSNBC Hype North Dakota’s ‘Most Restrictive Abortion Law In The Country’

Once again, NBC News has ignored important facts of a story to push its political agenda.  The latest example centers around laws passed by the North Dakota legislature dealing with abortion in the Roughrider State. 

The North Dakota legislature passed bills that banned abortions based on genetic defects, requiring doctors who perform abortions to be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges, banning gender-selected abortions, and banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  There are, of course, certain exemptions for the life of the mother built into these bills.  [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]

The March 27 editions of NBC’s Today and MSNBC’s Jansing & Co. provided inaccurate reporting on the new abortion bills by failing to mention anything about the law which would ban sex-selection abortions. Many nations in Europe, where generally the abortion laws are more liberal than in the U.S., already have bans on gender-selective abortions. These laws are in effect in large part to prevent female unborn babies from being aborted purely because of the baby's gender. You might think the network obsessed with a "war on women" would laud the move, right?

Here's how NBC substitute news anchor Tamron Hall described the North Dakota abortion laws this morning shortly after 7 a.m. Eastern:

Officials in North Dakota are bracing for legal challenges after the nation's toughest new measure on abortion were signed into law there. One measure passed by state legislators bans abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy or as soon as a heartbeat can be detected. Another bans abortions based on genetic defects.

Three hours later over on MSNBC, anchor Chris Jansing issued a similar report.  Jansing described the new abortion bills as such:

North Dakota has just passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Abortion is now banned in most cases once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That's as early as six weeks. The center for reproductive rights says it plans to file a legal challenge writing “North Dakota has set a new standard for extreme hostility towards the rights and health of women, the U.S. Constitution and 40 years of Supreme Court precedent.”   

Neither Jansing nor Hall mentioned an important aspect of the newly-passed legislation which requires abortion doctors to have hospital privileges, as this helps makes legal abortions safer.  Instead, the two NBC hosts solely focus on the fetal heartbeat piece of the legislation, claiming that they are too “restrictive.”

Not surprisingly, Jansing and Hall are not the only MSNBC hosts to ignore key aspects of the North Dakota legislation to push their pro-abortion agenda.  Earlier this week, Rachel Maddow ignored the same details regarding North Dakota’s abortion legislation, commenting that:

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.

As with the issues of same-sex marriage and gun control, abortion is another pet liberal issue where NBC News has decidedly to select report on developments rather than reporting all the facts and giving multiple sides of the story. Why trust the viewers with the facts when your interest is pushing a liberal "Lean Forward" narrative?

 

See relevant transcripts below. 


NBC

Today

March 27, 2013

7:09 a.m. EDT

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: The nation's toughest anti-abortion measure is now law this morning. Tamron Hall is in for Natalie this week with details on that story. Tamron good morning.

TAMRON HALL: That's right. Good morning, everyone. Officials in North Dakota are bracing for legal challenges after the nation's toughest new measure on abortion were signed into law there. One measure passed by state legislators bans abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy or as soon as a heartbeat can be detected. Another bans abortions based on genetic defects.

 

MSNBC

Jansing and Co.

March 27, 2013

10:30 a.m. EDT

CHRIS JANSING: Gay marriage isn't the only battle in the culture wars being fought right now. North Dakota has just passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Abortion is now banned in most cases once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That's as early as six weeks. The Center for Reproductive Rights says it plans to file a legal challenge writing “North Dakota has set a new standard for extreme hostility towards the rights and health of women, the U.S. Constitution and 40 years of Supreme Court precedent.” Arkansas earlier this year banned most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, and in Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has introduced an amendment to the state’s new health insurance exchange bill. It would ban providers in the exchange from covering abortion. I want to bring in former DOT spokeswoman and Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman, and Republican strategist and former spokesman for Speaker Hastert, John Feehery. Good to see both of you, good morning. Let me read to you a statement from North Dakota’s Governor. Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of roe versus wade. Is that the strategy here do you think by supporters of this bill Jill? Are they looking basically just to see how far they can push it?

JILL ZUCKMAN: I think that's right, Chris. They're tossing it out there to see what happens. These are obviously true believers, but it doesn't make the rest of the pro-life or anti abortion movement very happy because they have a definite legal strategy and it doesn't involve putting out cases that will almost certainly be struck down and then you’re going to wind up reinforcing roe versus wade.

JANSING: We looked at the numbers from NARAL, the abortion rights action league. 425 bills that they are tracking right now. 209 of them John would limit abortions. What's the strategy?

JOHN FEEHERY: Well, I think Jill has got it exactly right. Some parts of the pro life movement are not at all happy with the progress made on overturning roe versus wade. And so they are trying to see what is permissible, trying to test the court. Other parts like the Catholic Church and other parts of the pro life movement think this could be overreaching. And so there's kind of this jousting within the movement about how -- what is the best way to approach Roe v. Wade and can this in anyway be overturned with the composition of the Roberts court. And all of these different efforts, ways to try to take that issue and try to move it forward.

JANSING: You know it's very interesting this morning for those who follow first read which is from our political unit here. They made this case, that when the economy is doing poorly, obviously people are looking at issues like jobs. But when the economy is doing better and we have, obviously, a stock market that is doing very well, some other economic indicators that certainly are on the way up, then suddenly it switches to things like social issues. Jill what do you think the implications are for maybe the 2014 congressional races if these kinds of bills on a state by state level continue to pop up?

ZUCKMAN: Chris, I think that nothing could be worse for the Republican Party than to be talking about abortion. I mean we saw from the last election that these social issues whether it was birth control or abortion or rape, all it served to do was turn off the mainstream of the electorate, to turn off women voters who are critical to victory. It's not helpful. And I bet you anything that my friend John Feehery would rather be talking about taxes today than about abortion.

JANSING: Would you, John? We just saw -- I don't know if you guys were plugged in yet, but "Law & Order SVU" is doing something that’s kind of a takeoff on the whole Todd Aiken comment and legitimate rape, and those kinds of things.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.