Surprise: NPR Spotlights Pro-Life Outreach To Abortionists and Clinic Workers

January 13th, 2018 11:17 PM

NPR's All Things Considered on Thursday zeroed in on a pro-life organization that tries to get the employees of abortion facilities to end their participation in the killing of unborn babies. Despite the surprising attention on former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson and her group, And Then There Were None, the public radio program still inserted slanted language into their report. Sarah McCammon labeled the organization an "anti-abortion group." McCammon later noted that Johnson has "gradually been embraced by the anti-abortion rights movement."

Host Kelly McEvers introduced the segment with biased terminology of her own: "Opponents of abortion rights often focus their work on trying to restrict abortion through legislatures and the courts, or persuading pregnant women to carry to term. But one group is taking a different focus — encouraging health care workers to leave abortion-related jobs." McCammon first highlighted one key component of Johnson's outreach to the former employees of abortion facilities — regular retreats that emphasize "emotional support," as the journalist put it.

The NPR correspondent continued with two sound bites from Annette Lancaster, a former Planned Parenthood manager who has attended Johnson's retreats; and a third clip from Noemi Padilla, a nurse who once assisted with abortions. Lancaster revealed that with the help of a therapist, she "just now started being able to use the deep freezer in my home by going through therapy — because we used to call the deep freezer 'the nursery' — and we used to think that was funny." McCammon also disclosed Planned Parenthood's statement about Lancaster:

MCCAMMON: Lancaster says she felt pressured to keep up the number of abortions performed at the clinic each month — even when women seemed hesitant. In a statement to NPR, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic denies those claims, and says Lancaster was fired for reasons related to her job performance. After her departure, Lancaster says she received enough money from And Then There Were None to cover a couple months' salary.

Interestingly, the journalist's report featured just one sound bite from a pro-abortion talking head — former Planned Parenthood vice president Elizabeth Toledo. The journalist noted Toledo's claim that "whatever the reasons why workers quit, they're not going in numbers large enough to threaten abortion access." The former abortion industry executive bemoaned Johnson's unique pro-life activism: "It's just another stressor on people who are already going to work in a highly-charged political environment. And I don't think that they're going to be successful, but they are going to just make people have to deal with an additional layer of stress."

Near the end of the segment, McCammon spotlighted that Johnson "also suffered from that highly-charged environment. And the criticism of her hasn't just come from abortion rights supporters....she recalled some abortion opponents saying she should burn in hell because of her work at the clinic." She concluded with her slanted "anti-abortion rights movement" phrase.

Click for the full transcript of Sarah McCammon's report, which aired on the January 11, 2018 edition of NPR's All Things Considered.