Surprise! The Washington Post on Wednesday profiled two young female pro-life activists on the front of the Style section. Not a surprise? The headline: “Antiabortion forces’ rising young stars.” Reporter Krissah Thompson wrote “Kristan Hawkins, 28, and Lila Rose, 25, are central players in the antiabortion movement’s resurgence.”
In the same corner of the front page yesterday, the Post oozed all over Gloria Steinem without a single opposing word. (Or consider past 100-percent goo for Planned Parenthood boss Cecile Richards.) The profile on Hawkins and Rose was heavily dosed with abortion advocates denouncing them as unethical or extreme.
Krissah Thompson normally offers gooey valentines to Michelle Obama where no one questions the First Lady’s ethics, or ideology, or general lack of adorable-ness. Lila Rose is an “irritant,” a word that fits, if you are the nation’s leading killer of unborn children:
Rose — founder and president of Live Action, based in Arlington — has become another kind of irritant to abortion providers by sneaking into clinics with hidden cameras to investigate their practices — a tactic that Planned Parenthood, the target of Rose’s videos, has called unethical.
To their credit, Thompson and the Post detail what Rose sought out to show that Planned Parenthood provided abortions to 15-year-old with adult boyfriends, and then sent men posing as pimps with underage girls. “In the undercover videos, clinic staff appear to comply with his requests.” The “appear to” is a little much. It’s like saying Marion Barry “appeared to” smoke crack. Or Mitt Romney “appeared to” talk about the 47 percent.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood’s Virginia leadership said its officials contacted the FBI following the visits, describing Live Action as using its scheme to “coax our staff into making damaging comments.” The organization has also said Rose’s group manipulates videos and makes false claims.
“What they do is unethical,” said Carol Joffe, a professor at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and author of “Dispatches From the Abortion Wars.” “Now you have to worry whether some woman who comes to you — who you genuinely want to help — can be trusted. Providers pride themselves on being responsive to people in crisis. Now this person has to worry do they have a hidden camera.”
The accusations that Rose’s videos are misleading haven’t stopped conservatives from embracing her work.
Tuesday, Rose was greeted like a star at the Christian Broadcasting Network’s D.C. studio.
That’s a snarky touch: being misleading never upsets conservatives!
Hawkins, the head of Students for Life, calls herself an “abortion abolitionist,” and Thompson made sure she worked the word “extreme” into the conversation, and somehow working the Todd Akin Gaffe of 2012 into this 2014 story:
She argues that there is no difference between fighting against the holding of men and women in chattel slavery and fighting “to save the pre-born.”
She knows this is seen as an extremist view, but she doesn’t back down.
“I think they’re extremist,” she said of supporters of abortion rights. “We have to believe it in our heads that abortion can be abolished.” [Italics in the original.]
Older white men have for years been the face of the antiabortion movement. As recently as the 2012 election cycle, former Missouri congressman Todd Akin provoked ire over his stance against abortion even in the case of rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he said.
Hawkins shook her head at the memory — not because she disagrees with Akin’s assessment that there should be no exception for abortion in cases of rape and incest, but because he got involved in a conversation about the meaning of rape.
“That set us back on campuses,” Hawkins said.
Rep. Akin was a regular speaker at the March for Life, but wasn’t the first name to surface as the “face of the antiabortion movement.” (Rep. Chris Smith would be the pale-male congressional face.)
Plenty of women have brought their faces to the forefront, from Rose and Hawkins to Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, to Jeanne Monahan, who’s now running the March for Life. Thompson also liked the quote where Hawkins was “crazy”:
“She’s crazy. She’s crazy in a good way,” said Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, who introduced Hawkins at her conference this week.
Hawkins began her activism at a crisis pregnancy center in Steubenville, Ohio, which spurred Thompson to bring in another ethical objection from the abortion lobby:
Groups that support abortion rights have opposed such centers, saying they intimidate women and provide misinformation to those seeking abortions. “Crisis pregnancy centers use deceptive tactics and withhold information to keep people from accessing the reproductive health-care services they need,” said Mari Schimmer, program director for Choice USA. “Medical care and advice should be provided by trained health-care professionals, not religiously motivated activists.”
Thompson and the Post can't quite mention that it's become an issue of whether there are really "trained health-care professionals" doing the procedures at the abortion clinic, as demonstrated in the Kermit Gosnell trial. In California, they've even tried to "dumb down" the training qualifications for abortion providers to allow "nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants" to perform early abortions. The New York Times hailed this with the headline "California Expands Availability of Abortions."
But it's a bit rich for journalists to highlight complaints about "deceptive tactics" and "withholding information" when Rose's stings have proven that America's abortion clinics can easily be accused of the same.