Pod people: No religion for abortion providers

Can I test a theory?

My sense is that reporters often look to religion when covering people who are against abortion. It might seem obvious, since people do often cite their underlying religious beliefs as their reason for opposition. Though when reporters explore why people do provide abortions, religion suddenly disappears from consideration.

Take the story about a gay abortion doctor who wants to adopt. The reporter showed that the doctor clearly felt there was some gray in the ethics of providing abortions, especially late-term ones. We were left wondering whether his faith (or lack of faith) had anything to do with why being an abortion doctor is so complex for him.

Earlier we saw the story about the 2,000 dead fetuses found at a Buddhist temple’s morgue. We learned about an abortion provider who adopted eight children that survived abortions. “I commit sin every day,” she said, “so if the kids won’t die, there’s no need to kill them.” We talked about her reaction, especially in the context of a primarily Buddhist country, but we still don’t know much about her religion.

We talk about these stories on the latest GetReligion’s podcast, so click here to listen to the most recent one.

By the way, when do you listen to podcasts? Have you listened to anything especially good recently? I know NPR isn’t terribly popular right now after the Juan Williams business, but I still listen to many of their shows. Are there good religion podcasts that I’m missing? Whether you’re on your computer, mp3 player, smart phone, whatever, thanks for “tuning in.”

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  • John Willard

    I just finished listening to this one while I did my grocery shopping.

    As far as good religion podcasts, NPR has an excellent one where they bundle together all the religion stories they did over the week.

    It can be found here

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Good to hear, John. I always feel a little guilty when I have ear buds in when I shop, but I should probably just get over it.

    I do like NPR’s, but I’ve usually read all the stories before they bundle the stories together. Thanks for the link.

  • Jerry

    I know NPR isn’t terribly popular right now…

    I have to disagree with this point. I’ve found NPR and PBS, in general, do a 1000% better job than the commercial MSM in presenting religion stories. But in spite of being much better than the rest, they are not perfect and need a prod from time-to-time.

    I suspect that the vast majority of Americans have at best a hazy idea of what that scandal was all about. Some on the right don’t like public broadcasting no matter the quality so this reinforces their predilections and is not really a change. Most on the left would, at most, consider that NPR made a mistake and forgive them on the English common law basis “that every dog is entitled to one free bite”. Of course, in law it’s not that simple but the principle is sound – organizations, religious and secular, occasionally do really dumb things and they should be forgiven assuming that the misdeed is not part of an unchanging pattern.

  • Julia

    I used to rarely listen to NPR, just on long trips through areas with not much else on. But my local classical music station was sold, so I have been tuning in now & then.

    Today there was an interview with Natalie Portman about her new movie, the “Black Swan”.

    The interviewer was right up front with her. The fact that she had been born in Jerusalem, moved to the US at age 3, and attended Jewish day school until 13 came up. Interviewer asked if she was particularly religious. Natalie said she wasn’t but her parents wanted her to learn Hebrew. Interviewer asked if she changed personality when she visited Israel and Natalie responded that she felt freer then to criticize the Israeli government than when she was in the US.

    None of it was disrespectful and Natalie treated the questions as legitimate questions.

    There was more. Very interesting and well done.

  • Elias

    I listen to podcasts on my daily commute and as I cook. I find the Bloggingheads.tv podcasts quite good, especially the Values Added topics(I’m aware that they are available as web videos as well).

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Jerry, you’re probably right. I keep reading about the fallout (funding) from the Williams story, but maybe it isn’t as bad as it seems.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Julia, thanks for pointing us to that interview. I’ll have to track that down.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Elias, do you find most of the match ups pretty interesting? I listen to mostly stories and interviews, less commentary, but I’ll have to download some of those.

  • Lynn

    Regarding the Natalie Portman interview, I heard in on the program Fresh Air. Terry Gross often asks the most amazing questions in the gentlest way possible.

    Here is a link to the interview. The audio is 20 minutes long, but a few key excerpts can be read.
    http://www.npr.org/2010/11/29/131667596/to-become-a-black-swan-portman-had-to-go-dark

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Thanks, Lynn. That’s very helpful.


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