Told ya so. When reports first surfaced a few weeks ago that Focus on the Family was planning to run a pro-life ad during the Super Bowl broadcast featuring University of Florida quarter back Tim Tebow, the Culture & Media Institute predicted liberals would be upset.
Like clockwork, an article in the Huffington Post on Jan. 25 reported that "a national coalition of women's groups" that includes the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority is demanding that CBS reconsider its plans to run the ad.
Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner who led the Gators to an NCAA championship, is a famously outspoken Christian noted for wearing Bible verses on his game day eye-black. He is also a walking pro-life story: the Super Bowl ad will relate how Tim's mother, against the advice of doctors, carried him to term in a dangerous pregnancy while on a church mission to the Philippines.
The story behind Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow's arrival into this world is remarkable.
So-called "women's groups" would seem to prefer that as many Americans as possible not know the story about the courageous and faith-based decision Tebow's mother made to carry her pregnancy to term. That's the only plausible reason why they are opposing a 30-second Focus on the Family (FOTF) ad scheduled to air during the Super Bowl. So far, it seems that CBS, which will air the Super Bowl on February 7, seems disinclined to buckle.
David Crary's coverage of the story at the Associated Press (from which the photo at the top right was obtained) labels FOTF "conservative," but does not apply any descriptive label to the "women's groups" objecting to the ad.
As you'll see in the final excerpted paragraph, Crary's coverage included an over-the-top statement from the objectors:
As usual, ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored Friday’s March for Life protest. (Even the Associated Press skipped over the tens of thousands marching.) But the PBS NewsHour at least offered a brief from news anchor Hari Sreenivasan:
Thousands rallied in Washington in the annual March For Life. It was the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion. The anti-abortion crowd rallied at the White House, and then moved on to the Supreme Court. A handful of abortion rights supporters were also present.
NPR covered the trial on the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller on Friday night (as well as Friday morning), but had no March for Life mention. On the afternoon talk show Tell Me More, host Michel Martin interviewed Serrin Foster of Feminists for Life. But the pro-life movement was harshly smeared by late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart in an interview that led off that same show:
As the new year began, The New York Times offered a 780-word article to a protest for illegal immigrants – with four marchers walking from Miami to Washington. But on Saturday, tens of thousands of Americans gathering in Washington for Friday's annual March for Life received – part of a sentence.
In the Saturday paper on January 23, an article on the trial facing the killer of late-term abortionist George Tiller on page A-11 featured this note in paragraph 9 of a 12-paragraph dispatch by Monica Davey:
Testimony began the same day that abortion rights groups celebrated, and abortion opponents protested, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.
A distinction is often made between the violent and non-violent members of this "movement." The government, the media, and the activists are careful to point out that the Scott Roeders and Paul Hills of the world are rare. Most of the activists just want to "inform" women about their options. Most of the activists care about preserving all life, including the lives of the providers and women.
Krista Gesaman of Newsweek.com's Gaggle blog could have saved herself from the indignity of making the absurd claim that young women were "missing" from protests marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by merely searching through the past coverage of the March for Life by the Washington Post, Newsweek's sister publication. In past years, the Post has highlighted the "youthful throng," the "large turnout of young people," and has quoted from teenagers participating at the annual pro-life March.
My colleague Ken Shepherd noted Gesaman's beyond faulty conclusion on Friday, and highlighted a recent Marist poll that indicated that "58 percent of persons aged 18-29 view abortion as 'morally wrong.'" Members of this age were all born after the 1973 Roe decision by the Supreme Court, so it's not that surprising of a statistic. He also underlined how "hundreds if not thousands of busloads teeming with teenagers and college students, many of them young women, descend on the nation's capital for the annual March for Life."
Near the end of the 3PM ET hour of CNN’s Rick’s List on Friday, host Rick Sanchez couldn’t seem to figure out who was protesting at the March for Life in Washington D.C.: “It’s the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade case....both sides being represented today, but it does appear to me, as I look at these signs that – which side is represented the most....Do we know?”
Sanchez directed that question to his executive producer Angie Massie as he went to a commercial break. Of course, the March for Life, as it’s name implies, is an annual gathering of pro-life activists in the nation’s capital to voice their opposition to abortion on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. As Rick puzzled over which side was more represented, live footage appeared on screen showing a seemingly equal number of pro-abortion and pro-life protestors.
Returning from the commercial break, Sanchez clarified that most of the protestors “seem to be” pro-life, but still seemed completely unfamiliar with the annual event: “As far as we can tell, following this protest on this day, the bulk of the protesters that we have seen here – that doesn’t mean there aren’t others, because we haven’t gone out and counted them individually – seem to be anti-abortion activists. We’ve seen more pro-life signs than we have the others.”
Updated [14:30 EST, see bottom of post]: Nearly 6-out-of-10 young adults are pro-life a new survey finds.
Every January, hundreds if not thousands of busloads teeming with teenagers and college students, many of them young women, descend on the nation's capital for the annual March for Life.
But if one were to believe Newsweek's Krista Gesaman, the March is an aging senior citizen affair that is hurting for attendance by young women (emphasis mine):
Today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, and droves of women are prepared to face rainy weather to support their positions during the annual Washington, D.C., demonstrations. But there will be one major difference with the demonstration route this year—it’s shorter.
“The organizers are getting older, and it’s more difficult for them to walk a long distance,” says Stanley Radzilowski, an officer in the planning unit for the Washington, D.C., police department. A majority of the participants are in their 60s and were the original pioneers either for or against the case, he says.
So this raises the question: where are the young, vibrant women supporting their pro-life or pro-choice positions? Likely, they’re at home.
At this point, Gesaman turned to a feminist professor from the University of Maryland who sees an equal lack of energy among young pro-choice and pro-life women:
Pro-life activists most likely cheered upon seeing this week's In Touch Weekly. The magazine, usually devoted to the latest celebrity shenanigans, featured Sarah and Bristol Palin on the cover holding their baby boys under the headline, "We're Glad We Chose Life."
But for the media, who find everything about Sarah Palin controversial, including, now, holding her own baby, it's one more attack opportunity that includes calling her daughter a "privileged" teen mother.
Sarah and Bristol were "schlepping those babies around like crazy," said Joy Behar. No friend of the Palins on any day, on the Jan. 13 edition of her show Behar predictably found fault with the magazine cover and complained of Palin's youngest son, Trig, "That baby, they passed that baby around more than a joint at a Grateful Dead concert." To her guests, liberal talk show host Stephanie Miller and Huffington Post editor Roy Sekoff, she asked, "Is she going to bring that baby on the set of Fox?"
Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon.com called the cover a "jaw dropper" and questioned the appropriateness of showing the Palins on it. "Hey, we're all for mothers loving their babies, but if it's not 1984 and you're not in a Wham! video, [in which George Michael wore a shirt that said "Choose Life"] you might want to reconsider whether that sentiment is appropriate in a pop culture context," she wrote in a Jan. 14 post.
Lamenting how Nancy Pelosi's archbishop has "slap[ped] her down," in an online statement addressing the House Speaker's excuse-making for her pro-abortion record, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift used a January 15 Gaggle blog post to praise Pelosi, no stranger to pastoral rebuke, as both a good pro-choice Democrat and a good Catholic:
It's anybody's guess whether in the new world of Internet media the archbishop's online commentary rebuking Pelosi falls under his pastoral duties, or public advocacy. Either way, Pelosi remains unshaken in her views, and in her Catholic faith.
"Free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom."
Yet Clift left out another key excerpt from Neiderauer's "archbishop's journal" column (emphasis mine):
Notice the euphemisms, from "challenges" to "abortion rights activists." But Slevin's account had a gaping hole in it: he never acknowledged the "pro-choice" victory in confirming leftist abortion promoter Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, not to mention abortion activists in the lower federal courts.
Instead, Slevin used the year-in-review piece to focus on the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller. Slevin called him only "the nation's most prominent abortion doctor," not a specialist in the high-priced arena of "terminating" babies in the third trimester of pregnancy.
The Post is certainly not going to call his office an "abortion mill." Instead, it was "a long-standing refuge for women and a site of daily protests that often turned bitter."
Bonnie Erbe of U.S. News and Report praised Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s efforts to change the Catholic Church’s perennial teaching against abortion in a December 23, 2009 blog entry, calling her a “modern-day Crusader of sorts” and outlandishly predicted that the Church would eventually “recognize the wisdom of...[her] approach.” Erbe would even go so far as to liken Townsend to St. Joan of Arc.
The left-wing contributing editor to U.S. News began her editorial with the “Crusader” label for the former Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland, even going so far as to quote from the early 20th century Catholic Encyclopedia: “Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is a modern-day Crusader of sorts. As defined by the Catholic Encyclopedia, crusade means, ‘all wars undertaken in pursuance of a vow, and directed against infidels.’ I use the term Crusader figuratively, not literally, as she’s speaking out publicly, she’s not leading a war. She’s trying to change the minds of her own church leaders—she’s not directing her rhetoric toward infidels. Nonetheless she’s leading a crusade for her church that many clergymen see as blasphemous.”
Today, it sounds like the president has finally reached that point with the Senate Democrats and their increasingly aggravating health-care squabbles. He's ready to issue a steely "Enough." And not a minute too soon.
Not a minute too soon? Isn't Connolly supposed to be an objective reporter, not a cheerleader for a political party and its agenda? Oh, that's right, this is Newsweek, the magazine whose editor actually aspires to a smaller (and more liberal?) audience.
In what is easily the dopiest question I've read from a religion blogger in a while, Chicago Tribune's Manya Brachear closed her December 8 The Seeker blog post by asking readers if "dissenters" like pro-choice nun Sister Donna Quinn of Chicago "strengthen the church." In November, Quinn went public with news that she has "been rebuked for escorting patients into a Hinsdale clinic that provides abortions."
In "Pro-choice nun still fighting for women's care," Brachear explained how Quinn "is not backing down from her support of abortion rights, applauding the defeat of an amendment today that would have added restrictions to the health care bill for women seeking abortions."
Oh, it gets worse. Quinn apparently used the Virgin Mary as cover for sanctifying her pro-abortion views:
Salon editor Joan Walsh, a frequent contributor on MSNBC, finds the network's "Countdown" host to be lacking in the diversity department when it comes to his guests. Of course, her complaint isn't with Olbermann's refusal to feature guests with whom he could have ideological clashes -- something his nemesis Bill O'Reilly has never been afraid to do -- but the fact that his guests are infrequently of the fairer sex.
Time's Amy Sullivan has little use for moderate Senate Democrats throwing up any semblance of a road block, nay, even a speed bump, to ObamaCare, especially if it entails pro-life measures which would keep abortion from being covered by the taxpayer-subsidized government option.
"What is it about those Nebraska governors-turned-senators?" Sullivan huffed in the beginning of her December 8 Swampland blog post. "Did they not get enough attention as children? Do they chafe at being told they hail from a 'flyover' state? Does that unicameral legislature leave too few adoring supporters?"
Sullivan's ire was directed at Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D), who along with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has offered a pro-life amendment to the Democratic health care reform bill that Sullivan insists is all but doomed to fail and which is not likely a deal-breaker for either Sens. Nelson nor Casey when it comes to final passage:
Friday’s CBS Evening News devoted a full story, filed by correspondent Jim Axelrod, to late-term abortion Doctor LeRoy Carhart – who stepped in to succeed Dr. George Tiller, known for performing many partial birth abortions, after his murder last spring – during which Carhart was given several soundbites to justify his work. At one point gushing that "Until I can find someone else to care for women, they still need somebody to care for them," he later asserted: "I totally believe in this cause every bit as much as I did believe every morning when I got up in the military that I was doing the right thing. And if dying for this cause is what I have to do, then that`s what I will do."
But CBS’s Axelrod never used the term "partial birth abortion," or described the horrific procedure involved in some abortions. And, after anchor Katie Couric described Carhart’s work as "controversial" as she introduced the report, she also conveyed a more positive connotation as she referred to his and Dr. Tiller's activities as a "cause," as did Carhart himself. Couric:
Sheryl Gay Stolberg devoted most of her article in Sunday’s New York Times detailing the concerns of radical feminists over the future of legalized abortion, specifically its support among the younger generations. Stolberg tried to downplay the larger opposition to abortion in the 18-30 year old demographic, and only one of the pro-abortion activists that she quoted in her article belonged to this group.
The New York Times correspondent began her article, “In Support of Abortion, It’s Personal vs. Political,” with a sympathetic personal anecdote from one of the aging radicals, Representative Louise Slaughter of New York: “In the early 1950s, a coal miner’s daughter from rural Kentucky named Louise McIntosh encountered the shadowy world of illegal abortion. A friend was pregnant...and Ms. McIntosh was keeper of a secret that, if spilled, could have led to family disgrace. The turmoil ended quietly in a doctor’s office... Today, Louise McIntosh is Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York. At 80, she is co-chairwoman of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus — a member of what Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, calls ‘the menopausal militia.’”
This so-called militia, and the wider “abortion rights movement,” according to Stolberg, has been “forced...to turn inward, raising questions about how to carry their agenda forward in a complex, 21st-century world.” The reason: “a generational divide — not because younger women are any less supportive of abortion rights than their elders, but because their frame of reference is different.” The correspondent continued that “[p]olls over the last two decades have shown that a clear majority of Americans support the right to abortion, and there’s little evidence of a difference between those over 30 and under 30, but the vocabulary of the debate has shifted with the political culture.”
Profiles of Chris Matthews often mention that Chris and his wife Kathleen attend Blessed Sacrament Church in northwest Washington. But there are times when Matthews seems pretty dumb on the Catholic basics. This passage in his televised lecturing of Bishop Thomas Tobin stood out:
A lot of Catholics agree or disagree in every poll I’ve seen about what the law should be [on abortion]. They generally accept the teaching authority of the Church, the Magistar, your teaching authority, your Excellency. Where the disagreement is what the law should be, what the penalty should be.
The proper word for the teaching office of the Pope and the bishops is "magisterium." This guy thinks Sarah Palin is a lightweight?
The Boston Globe predictably editorialized on Wednesday against Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin for "targeting" Rep. Patrick Kennedy ("Rhode Island bishop errs in targeting Patrick Kennedy.") They predictably cavil that bishops don’t punish politicians who support the death penalty and wars.
What sets this leaden chunk of argument apart is its boast the bishop's attention is "ironic" since the Kennedy family have long been a flock of terrific, devout Catholics that drew others into the church. They have been virtual magnets of holiness. Yes, you may pick up your jaw now:
Among Catholic politicians, Patrick Kennedy is both an obvious target, because of his prominence, and a deeply ironic one, because of the decades of loyalty and support the Kennedy family has given to the Catholic Church. Though they may not always have lived strictly by church teachings, Patrick’s father, uncles, aunts, and grandmother were all devout Catholics whose intensive commitment to worship drew others into the church. The Kennedys accorded priests and bishops an honored position in their lives. Edward Kennedy’s dying appeal to the pope proves that the church was never far from the late senator’s mind.
Apparently MSNBC's Chris Matthews doesn't want Catholics involved in the political process at all - especially when it comes to abortion. Earlier this month the "Hardball" host declared "The clergy should stay off Capitol Hill." Last night, he accused Thomas Tobin, bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, of "telling public officials how to set public policy," "stepping beyond moral teaching," and "basically assuming an authority" because the bishop requested that Rhode Island Democrat Rep. Patrick Kennedy not take communion due to his support for abortion.
Matthews' based his accusations on a portion of a speech on religion delivered by then Sen. John F. Kennedy in which he stated:
I believe in an America that is official neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish, where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source, where no religious body seeks to impose its will, directly or indirectly, upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials.
Bishop Tobin briefly responded that the Church does not want to "dictate what the public policy should be in the United States from a purely Catholic doctrinal point of view," but "what [it] is trying to do, most of all, is instill good human values but also have Catholics who are in political office be faithful to the dictates of the Church and the dictates of their conscience and the teachings of the Church."
Last night the Baltimore City Council became the first in the nation to pass a law that would require pro-life crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to post in writing disclaimers noting that they do not provide abortion services or contraceptives nor refer women to persons or clinics who do.
Reporting the story in the November 24 paper, the Baltimore Sun's Julie Scharper quoted the bill's author and council president Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) heralding the passage of the bill as "a step towards making sure that women have the information they need to make the right decision for their health and their future."
Yet Scharper failed to point out to readers that Rawlings-Blake actually voted against an amendment that would also apply her standard to abortion clinics. Reported George P. Matysek Jr. of The Catholic Review on November 17:
Monday’s NBC Nightly News took up the story of liberal Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s public feud with the Catholic Church, and NBC’s Ron Allen implied something improper in how "the Catholic Church is flexing its religious and political muscle."
When Catholic officials endorse liberal initiatives like immigration reform or oppose an execution, the networks don’t worry about the separation of church and state. But with traditional stands against abortion and gay marriage in the crossfire, NBC’s screen graphic asked if the church was "Crossing the Line?" A secular-left lobbyist accused the church of being "not above spiritual and political blackmail."
NBC even used footage from Nicholas Ballasy’s video interview with Kennedy for Cybercast News Service, a news outlet affiliated with the MRC. But the brief snippet took out some of Kennedy’s hostility against the church for "fanning the flames of dissent and discord" over the "absolute red herring" of abortion. Here’s how NBC portrayed it:
CNN’s Rick Sanchez misrepresented the pro-life Stupak Amendment to the House Democrats’ health care plan on Monday’s Newsroom. Sanchez labeled the amendment a “conservative Republican challenge of health care reform.” The anchor also gave a false impression of an answer given by RNC Chairman Michael Steele in an earlier interview on American Morning.
Sanchez used the misleading label out of the gate in a segment which began 22 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour: “The Stupak Amendment was a conservative Republican challenge of health care reform by making Democrats agree to a provision to make sure that abortions are not covered under this new plan, and it was a successful challenge, by the way.”
On today's Morning Joe, Larry O'Donnell called the Roman Catholic bishop who barred Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) from taking communion a "political hack."
Interestingly, Mika Brzezinski had a totally different take, arguing the controversy was not about the Church but about Kennedy publicizing the matter in a play to his base. Though Bishop Thomas Tobin sent his letter to Kennedy more than two years ago, its contents didn't come to light until Kennedy recently revealed them to a Rhode Island newspaper.
U.S. News and World Report's Bonnie Erbe claimed in her latest blog post that the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which bans federal funding of elective abortion in the recently passed House health care reform bill, is "a privacy invasion of massive proportions" because it "would allow government policy to intervene in the most private of medical decisions made by women and their private insurance companies."
Apparently Erbe is not concerned that federal funding of elective abortions would also prove to be a "privacy invasion of massive proportions" for people who do not want to pay for the taking of innocent human life.
CNN released a poll yesterday that found 61 percent of Americans do not want their tax dollars used to pay for the abortions of women who otherwise could not afford to pay for them. Over half, 51 percent, believe women who have abortions should pay for the procedure out of their own pockets, even if they have private health insurance.
"This week's abortion conversation is about politics. Let's not pretend it's about anything else," Newsweek's Lisa Miller huffed in a November 18 Newsweek.com post, complaining about how the moral issues surrounding abortion are taking on a life of their own in the health care debate.
We suffer, this week, from a moral myopia. Thanks to the passage in Congress of a health-reform bill, abortion is in the news again, but with the same old warriors brandishing their same old spears.
But while Miller went on to list both pro-life and pro-choice "old warriors," it's hard to believe her beef is with both sides of that fight equally. Miller laments that:
Our entire health-care system (and the proposed reform) is rife with "complex moral issues." To activate our consciences only in the realm of abortion relieves those consciences of too much responsibility.
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin fretted in a column in the November 23, 2009 edition of The New Yorker that “abortion, as the academics like to say, is being marginalized,” and even turned his ire on some in his left-wing camp, including President Obama. He accused “many modern pro-choice Democrats,” including the President, of ceding “the moral high ground” to pro-lifers.
Toobin began his “Not Covered” column by outlining the history of abortion, particularly in the U.S.: “Abortion is almost as old as childbirth. There has always been a need for some women to end their pregnancies. In modern times, the law’s attitude toward that need has varied....Throughout this long legal history, the one constant has been that women have continued to have abortions.” The analyst continued with his lament that the legalized murder of an unborn child isn’t more accepted, given the “constant” he had outlined: “It might be assumed that such a common procedure would be included in a nation’s plan to protect the health of its citizens. In fact, the story of abortion during the past decade has been its separation from other medical services available to women. Abortion, as the academics like to say, is being marginalized.”
After airing what she described as a "hard-hitting" ad by the Center for Reproductive Rights which ominously warned, "Don't let Congress ban abortion coverage millions of women already have," MSNBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman today lamented to Politico's Jeanne Cummings that with Sen. Ted Kennedy gone, Democrats lack a unifying figure who could defuse an abortion battle that could mar Democratic unity on health care reform.
Snyderman praised the late pro-choice politician as a "man of his church and of his faith" (MP3 audio here):
Well, now the Catholic Church is lobbying hard to get House language into the Senate bill and then hopefully get it passed. Politico's assistant managing editor Jeanne Cummings wrote about this. And she joins me now.