"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Tuesday, June 11, 2002 Why not just publish a press release from the abortion lobby and call it news?
Wait – that appears to be just what the Boston Globe has done in this puff piece on the executive director for Voters for Choice.
It occurs to me that newspapers too rarely try to reach beyond the stereotypical in the fleeting anti-abortion comment they seek to "balance" stories that otherwise are briefs for abortion advocacy groups. Why not contact some of the many thoughtful and eloquent – and not-easily-pigeonholed – abortion-opponents out there to provide an enlightening perspective that dissents from the received wisdom of the newsroom?
I am seeking just such balancing opinions. Read the Globe story and, if you like, contact me with a brief and clarifying comment on why "choice" on late-term abortions ought not necessarily be deemed by default "progressive." (This NYT account from North Korea might provide inspiration.) Replies will be posted.
Some questions that do present themselves – but are not addressed – in the Globe story: If the late-term abortion question only deals with extreme cases involving the early induced delivery of unborn children who lack brain and central nervous system and will promptly die outside the mother's womb, what is the big debate? Is it possible many – perhaps most – cases do not involve such "open and shut" instances of fatal deformity? If the baby was going to die as soon as it was born, what was the hurry to terminate the pregnancy? Why is the right to an early termination of a child – who will die anyway -- so sacrosanct? What of those children who are not going to die anyway? Why did it matter to the "devout Catholic" woman profiled that the child terminated be christened? Do unborn children have souls? If they do, is their life or death an unquestioned matter of parental "choice"?
More questions: The subject is presented as a cradle Catholic who did not question the view that abortion was the province of "bad" people, and who – according to the feature lead – "prayed" to have her baby, deformed or not – until her priest bid her to "follow her conscience." Oh so? And is rube-like attachment to Catholicism somehow endearing in the case of this woman whose conscience takes her to a more enlightened political position – but not so in the case of the sterotypically dogmatic bogey-women of the Religious Right who so dogged this champion of freedom that she was forced to leave the state?
Emily Stimpson weighs in:Setting the glaring, screaming journalistic bias aside, I have a big question of my own. Like what the Holy Hell was that woman’s priest thinking? That whole millstone thing doesn’t just apply to priests who molest children. It also has a very special meaning for teachers who tell people to "follow their hearts" and perform intrinsically evil acts.