Blog Post

Abortion Supporters Score Political Points with Fake News

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

Abortion supporters are resorting to all kinds of fabrications to manipulate public opinion in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The story of a 10-year-old girl impregnated through rape who was forced across state lines for an abortion, and claims that women with ectopic pregnancies who seek abortions may end up behind bars, are just two examples of the kind of baseless hysteria we can all expect in the months ahead.

Thankfully, even the mainstream media is beginning to question some of these stories. For example, according to Snopes, several news outlets ran with the story of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was six weeks pregnant after being raped was forced to travel to neighboring Indiana for an abortion because her state outlawed abortion at six weeks. News outlets claimed that an Indianapolis OB/GYN named Dr. Caitlin Bernard, told The Columbus Dispatch,  that she was contacted by a colleague in Ohio who treats child-abuse victims to help the child.

It's a shocking story, but is it true?

According to the Washington Post, the story went viral, but only because too many news outlets didn’t do their homework and settled for what’s known as a “single-source” article, meaning there was no corroboration of the source’s story.

As the Post points out, under Ohio law, the physician who referred the child to Dr. Bernard is required to report any case of suspected abuse of a child to the local child welfare or law enforcement agency. This means there should be a report on file. However, because Dr. Bernard declined to identify her Ohio colleague or the city where the child is located, finding this report will prove to be a daunting task. The Post did a spot check and contacted child services agencies in some of Ohio’s largest cities such as Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. Officials in those cities reported that they were not aware of any such cases in their area.

In spite of this dearth of viable proof, even President Joe Biden repeated the alleged story during an address while raging against Ohio’s restrictive abortion law.

“Imagine being that little girl,” he said. “I’m serious, just imagine being that little girl. Ten years old!”

Later in the day, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was questioned about Biden’s remark and asked if he had confirmed the story with local law enforcement to determine if they were seeking the child’s abuser. Her answer confirmed that he had not.

“The President spoke to that — a young woman — just to show how extreme the decision on — the Dobbs decision was and just how extreme it is now for American public, the American families,” Jean-Pierre said at the briefing.

In other words, he used the story to score political points.

With the 10-year-olds story rapidly falling apart, abortion supporters are now resorting to yet another scare tactic about how abortion bans will force women suffering from ectopic pregnancies to be denied life-saving treatment.

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. The pregnancy is never viable and there is no way to transfer the egg to the uterus. This rare complication occurs in only about 1.5% of all pregnancies and can be life-threatening if left untreated. These pregnancies are normally ended with medication or surgery.

Abortion supporters are claiming that state abortion bans will prevent doctors from performing the necessary procedures to save the mother’s life. As Fox News reports, some are even making the hysterical claim that a woman seeking treatment for an ectopic pregnancy could land a woman behind bars.

"’Do I abort this ectopic pregnancy to literally save my life or do I go to jail?’" Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali mused on Twitter. "Question women in America now have to ask."

Well, not exactly.

All of the states that ban or restrict abortion in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade include exemptions for medical emergencies and allow abortions if the mother’s life is at risk, which it would be in the case of ectopic pregnancy.

“Many states also have laws specifically exempting treatment for ectopic pregnancies under the states’ abortion statutes,” Fox reports. “Additionally, federal law currently requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide abortion medication in limited circumstances, including rape, incest or if the life of the woman is in danger.”

Once again, the facts didn’t stop pro-abortion firebrands such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez D-N.Y.) from spewing another poorly researched diatribe about how the state laws were poorly written by “a bunch of men who are very ignorant about medicine, biology, rape culture, and the misogyny that they were raised in, including legal liability and how it factors in with the medical field…”

Too bad the medical field disagrees.

In an interview with World Magazine, Dr. Christina Francis, chairman of the board of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said she doesn’t know of “a single state law that would limit a physician’s ability” to care for women with ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages.

She also pointed out that the more than 600 Catholic hospitals throughout the country, which do not perform abortions, all treat ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages in accordance with Church teaching.

“In terminating a pregnancy, intent matters—and that’s something pro-abortion advocates don’t make clear,” Dr. Francis said. “An abortion, by definition, is the deliberate termination of a human life. Necessary medical care for an ectopic pregnancy that results in the death of an unborn child doesn’t meet that description. The intent is not to kill.”

These are just two examples of the kind of baseless fearmongering by abortion advocates that we can expect in the months preceding the mid-term elections.

There’s only one way to fight the fire of falsehood - with the fire of truth.

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