Just this week, KUOW, NPR’s Seattle station, ran a story on the “Controversy Surrounding Limited Service Pregnancy Centers.” In fact, it was a direct attack on a local ad campaign undertaken by the Vitae Foundation, a client of mine. (Vitae’s response is here.)
The problem with the ad campaign? It offered women choiceS – gasp! – about their pregnancies. It provided a website which clearly states that women have several options including abortion. It also makes clear that the website neither promotes nor refers for abortions. That’s pretty straightforward.
But NPR did the story without contacting Vitae and, apparently, without consulting much of the website. It did however spend quite a bit of time hearing from the public affairs director of the local Planned Parenthood. Their complaint? They don’t like the competition that Vitae represents. Somebody hand them a box of tissues, please. In the meantime, let legitimate organizations get back to doing the legitimate work of trying to reach their audiences.
At the same time, the battle to limit the free speech of pregnancy help centers wages on. Legislation that would have required PHCs to advertise that they don’t provide abortions was defeated in the state legislature earlier this year. So, similar efforts are now expected at the county level, following the same pattern in New York and Maryland. The Baltimore city ordinance was overturned by a district court on the grounds that it was unconstitutional because it limited the right to freedom of speech of the PHCs. (You can read my commentary along with the decision here.) Nevertheless, abortion providers and supporters continue to try and force the same unconstitutional provisions in other parts of the country. One can’t help but wonder if NPR, or at least this particular NPR journalist, is using its broadcasting ability to support these efforts. At the very least, they aren’t offering unbiased and fair journalism.
All the while, Planned Parenthood itself misleads the public about the services it provides. LiveAction just released another expose in which it documents that PP does not provide mammograms even though Cecile Richards, PP CEO, claims that losing their federal funding will impact women for whom they provide mammograms.
The pro-life movement has always argued for transparency beginning with its challenge of the Roe v. Wade decision. It’d be great to see abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, maintain similar transparency.
I’m all for truth in advertising, but it should go both ways. After all Planned Parenthood isn’t known for promoting and facilitating parenthood…