abortion clinics

About that 'Christmas miracle': What it means that Nashville has lost its only abortion provider

About that 'Christmas miracle': What it means that Nashville has lost its only abortion provider

Nashville, Tenn. — one of the 25 largest cities in America — has lost its last remaining abortion provider. At least for now.

That seems like a pretty major story.

And indeed, The Tennessean has the basic details on today’s front page.

But the newspaper’s coverage of this stunning development seems overly low-key and matter-of-fact. Ho-hum, in other words.

This is the lede:

The only remaining abortion clinic in Nashville has ceased offering abortions, instead referring patients to clinics hundreds of miles away in Knoxville and Memphis. 

Officials with Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, which operates the north Nashville clinic, could not say when the clinic would resume providing abortions. The organization has a shortage of abortion providers, a spokeswoman said.

It is also "undergoing a period of quality improvement and will return with these services soon," a statement said. 

It is the second clinic in Nashville to stop providing abortions this year. The Women's Center closed in August after the sale of its building and its operators said then they hoped to reopen. The center has not yet reopened. 

The suspension of abortion services at Nashville's only abortion clinic comes at a time when the number of abortion providers in Tennessee and throughout the Southeast continues to dwindle.

OK, but here’s my question as a reader: What in the world is going on here?

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What!? About that Washington Post religion story on clergy gathering to bless late-term abortion clinic

What!? About that Washington Post religion story on clergy gathering to bless late-term abortion clinic

What!?

I'll admit it: That was my first reaction when I saw a Washington Post headline this week declaring, "Clergy gather to bless one of the only U.S. clinics performing late-term abortions."

Apparently, I wasn't the only reader taken aback by that story.

"Is this a Babylon Bee article?" asked one Twitter user, referring to a website that specializes in Christian satire news. "I can't tell."

The Babylon Bee did have a story last week on doctors discovering a "strange, baby-shaped organ" in a woman's womb.

But no, the Post story wasn't satire. It was an actual news report. And it was a well-done one at that.

Religion writer Julie Zauzmer's piece does a nice job of explaining why the clergy involved in this blessing ceremony believe what they do.

The lede:

When clergy gather at an abortion clinic, it’s usually in protest, outside the building.
Rarely are they huddled inside the clinic, not to condemn but to bless the procedures that happen there.
Yet that was the Rev. Carlton Veazey’s task as he led a prayer in Bethesda on Monday. “God of grace and God of glory, in whom we move and live,” he said, as he opened a prayer for the well-being of the doctor and nurses who facilitate abortions at a clinic here and for their patients. “Keep them safe and keep them strong. And may they always know that all that they do is for Thy glory.”
Veazey was one of four Christian pastors and one rabbi who gathered to bless this Bethesda abortion clinic in an unusual interfaith ceremony. (A Hindu priest who was supposed to attend from a local temple, who has blessed an abortion clinic before, didn’t make it.)
Opinions on the morality of abortion differ drastically by faith. Catholicism and some Protestant denominations teach that life begins from the  moment of conception and abortion at any stage is akin to murder. Other Protestants and teachings from several other faiths disagree with that definition of life and emphasize instead the sanctity of the health and the free will of women.
“Jewish rabbinic authorities, starting with the Middle Ages, say that a fetus is not a person,” said Rabbi Charles Feinberg, who is retired from Adas Israel synagogue, after participating in the ceremony. “Judaism has always said abortion is never murder. It may not be permitted, depending on the circumstances — how far along the pregnancy is, how seriously ill the mother-to-be is — but it is never murder. It only becomes that once the baby is born.”
Yet everyday conversation about abortion tends to cast it as a question of faith on one side — the antiabortion side — versus secular liberalism on the other. The clergy at this ceremony said that’s not the case. Many women who seek abortions are people of faith who pray about their decision, the clergy said.

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Journalistic malpractice: Metro daily serves up embarrassingly incomplete, one-sided abortion story

Journalistic malpractice: Metro daily serves up embarrassingly incomplete, one-sided abortion story

Oh, this is bad.

So, so bad.

If you read GetReligion with any frequency, you know we've pointed out — once or twice or a million times — the rampant news media bias against abortion opponents.

But even graded on that negative curve, the Charlotte Observer's weekend coverage of an anti-abortion rally takes slanted, inadequate journalism to a whole new level. This is, to use a term familiar to regular readers of this journalism-focused website, Kellerism on steroids.

Seriously, we're talking about a major metro daily publishing a news story built almost entirely upon quotes from a single source — an abortion clinic administrator. The Observer didn't bother to send a reporter to the pro-life rally and apparently couldn't (or didn't want to) locate a single person out of hundreds who attended the rally to comment on it. 

Nonetheless, the Observer feels compelled to report the pro-abortion official's claims as gospel truth:

The leader of a Charlotte abortion clinic claims the city improperly gave a pro-life group a parade permit, and is demanding answers after a large protest at the facility Saturday left patients feeling harassed.
Calla Hales, the administrator at Preferred Women’s Health Center of Charlotte on Latrobe Drive, said the city had rushed approval for a permit for pro-life group Love Life Charlotte. That left Hales’ center less time than usual to prepare for the demonstration, she said.
The event was billed as a prayer march that would draw 1,000 men to the clinic to stand against abortion, according to a Facebook page. Justin Reeder, founder of Love Life Charlotte, called on men to discourage women from getting abortions, in an effort to highlight how abortion impacts men.
“The truth is that this is more of a men’s issue than it is a women’s issue,” Reeder said in a video on the Facebook event page. “We forget about the men so often in this story.”

Not only does the paper rush to publication before allowing anyone on the pro-life side to respond to the clinic leader's claims, but the story — based on my reading of the same Facebook page — unfairly characterizes the intent and spirit of the event.

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Texas is making it more difficult for women to get abortions, and Politico can't hide its concern

Texas is making it more difficult for women to get abortions, and Politico can't hide its concern

Politico reports this week on "How Texas is beating the Supreme Court on abortion."

This is a typical mainstream media treatment of abortion, as the news organization tells the story almost entirely from the perspective of pro-choice activists.

Yes, Politico quotes a few pro-life sources. But mostly, the piece frames the issue in terms favorable to the abortion-rights side.

Let's start at the top:

AUSTIN, Texas — When Texas lost a major abortion case before the Supreme Court last year, the state’s conservative lawmakers didn’t back down.
Republicans who control both chambers of the Legislature responded with about four dozen new anti-abortion bills this session, positioning the state to continue to be one of the most restrictive in the country, where women in large swaths of Texas are hundreds of miles from the nearest provider.
One proposal would ban a common second-trimester procedure. Another would bar state funding for abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. A third would require fetal remains to be buried or cremated.
Meanwhile, dozens of clinics shuttered under the now-quashed law have remained closed, unable to muster the resources to reopen in a politically hostile, regulation-heavy environment. Texas has become the model for states that want to chip away at legal abortion until it is outlawed, while dodging court precedents that knock down laws.

Did you catch that phrasing in the last sentence?: chip away at legal abortion until it is outlawed. Is the legal really needed there? Why not not simply say chip away at abortion until it it outlawed? Am I reading too much into it or does that single word hint at Politico's pro-abortion mindset on this report?

Throughout the story, the issue is cast in terms of women having to drive farther to terminate pregnancies ... abortion clinics being forced to close down ... and pro-choice activists being galvanized to speak out.

Did anyone at Politico consider a different kind of framing, one focused, say, on the reduced number of abortions in Texas and why pro-life voters welcome this trend? Probably not.

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Euphemism in the news? We debate 'abortion care' terminology in front-page report

Euphemism in the news? We debate 'abortion care' terminology in front-page report

My friend and former colleague Kenna Griffin loves to "talk nerdy" about the intricacies of journalism.

That description probably fits GetReligion's behind-the-scenes discussion over two words that appeared in a Sunday front-page story in The Oklahoman — the Oklahoma City metropolitan daily where Kenna and I both used to work.

A question from reader Brandon Dutcher sparked the dialogue by our team:

You doubtless saw The Oklahoman’s front-page story on the new abortion clinic coming to Oklahoma City. One sentence in particular jumped out at me: “Burkhart did not get involved in women's rights work to provide abortion care in underserved communities — but that's where life led.”
Am I being overly sensitive here, or is the phrase “abortion care” inappropriate for a straight news story? Why not just say “provide abortions”?
My Orwellian alarm bells are going off, but I’m curious to know if anyone else sees anything amiss here.

A little background: I wrote a recent post praising an earlier Oklahoman story on the planned facility by religion editor Carla Hinton. The Sunday story about which Brandon inquired was written by Carla, a friend with whom I worked for nine years, and Jaclyn, a health reporter of whom I am a big fan. (In other words, these are not people I am in a hurry to criticize.)

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