Bloomberg’s totally unbiased abortion story

The best construction I can put on the article we’re about to look at is that Bloomberg editors and reporters accidentally put an abortion rights op-ed in the news section by accident. And yet there are enough things about the piece that make it seem like it was a failed attempt at a news story to make me think otherwise.

The op-ed article begins:

At least 58 U.S. abortion clinics — almost 1 in 10 — have shut or stopped providing the procedure since 2011 as access vanishes faster than ever amid a Republican-led push to legislate the industry out of existence.

I read that, assumed the media professional who submitted it had accidentally flagged a particularly histrionic op-ed (as sometimes happens), and looked for the name of the Planned Parenthood official or other abortion rights supporter who had penned it. One expects to see such bias in ideological media, but one would hope for more impartiality among people claiming to be news writers. I’ll note way up top that the story does not substantiate the lede. There’s no way it could, to be honest. But, hey, other than that problem …

I’ll also note, up top, that if you want to work for one type of political campaign, practice writing “access” as much as possible. However, that word is a really weak word to use for news writing.

More generally, I find the anti-regulatory bias of this piece just fascinating. I’m trying to imagine a mainstream media report about another industry that had a bunch of health and safety problems. Many dozens of reports of legal, health and safety violations all across the country. Including, say, a major practitioner in that industry being convicted of serial murder of very young children and horrible treatment of customers. Urine. Blood-soaked instruments. Narrow hallways that prevented evacuation of dying customers. That sort of thing. And then imagine that legislatures passed stricter regulations for same. Then imagine that some of the regulated parties were unable to or chose not to meet the basic standards required of other similar outfits.

Do you think the lede would be about how awful the regulators were? Of course not! One might even expect to see a story about how awful it was that the regulated industry was unable to meet basic standards of care or health or safety.

Anyway, the entire story is something of a mess, but let’s just look at the next few sentences:

A wave of regulations that makes it too expensive or logistically impossible for facilities to remain in business drove at least a third of the closings. Demographic changes, declining demand, industry consolidation, doctor retirements and crackdowns on unfit providers were also behind the drop. More clinics in Texas and Ohio are preparing to shut as soon as next month.

Opponents have tried to stop access to abortion through civil disobedience, blockades and legal action. Clinics were bombed and doctors killed.

Again, such a fascinating opposite-day spin on meeting health and safety regulations. Unfortunately there’s not substantiation in terms of data to support the claim that meeting the same standards as other outpatient surgical centers do is somehow impossible. Perhaps that’s why the second line is added. More use of the word “access”! I’m trying to think of some way to respond to “clinics were bombed and doctors killed” but I won’t insult the reader’s intelligence. We all know that this hackish and unprofessional. Particularly for an article about safety and health regulations at abortion clinics that somehow doesn’t mention Kermit Gosnell …. once. Literally not once. No mention of the charges against him. The grand jury report. The convictions for murder.

It’s hard to take such an article seriously. There is no need to go past the third paragraph, is there.

In any case, it’s always good, I guess, to see a particularly bad version of this type of article. I’ll remind readers that not all articles of this nature are horrific. I’m recalling that Reuters had a well-sourced story that found regulations did not have the effect that Bloomberg claims.

Bloomberg scale image via Shutterstock.

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  • Dingo Dongo

    We all know that this hackish and unprofessional.

    Pardon?

  • Papa Mincho

    This entire op-ed is something of a mess.

    “Many dozens of reports of legal, health and safety violations all across the country. Including, say, a major practitioner in that industry being convicted of serial murder of very young children and horrible treatment of customers. Urine. Blood-soaked instruments. Narrow hallways that prevented evacuation of dying customers. That sort of thing. ”

    Vague reports with no citations and purple prose. And another erroneous reference to Gosnell, again demonstrating a complete ignorance of the topic.

    It’s hard to take such an article seriously. There is no need to go past the third paragraph, is there?

    • FA Miniter

      It was hard to make sense of the article. I got a headache reading it. Maybe it should be reported for health and safety violations – ah, legal ones, too.

      • brisonc3

        These practicianers are reported to local, medical boards, but because many on these boards support “a woman’s right to choose” and “access to reproductive care” and believe these things are more important than the actual safety of patients, no action is taken against these practicianers or they only have their licenses temporarily suspended and then start doing them again after a short time, because local health officials do nothing to stop them.

        This is why the story above keeps mentioning how the pro-choice advocates working for major newspapers and news channels use the word “access” as to what they claim is being limited. What is most important to pro-choicers is not the qualifications of abortion practicianers, but the number of them. It’s about pushing the quanitity of “women’s health providers”, but not guaranteeing their quality. California recently passed a law allowing non-doctors; Physicians Assistants and Nurses, to do 1st trimester chemical abortions and Aspiration, using a vacuum like device to suck the contents of the womb out, abortions. Again, the justification for supporting this is to “provide access” to more available personnel for abortions. No explanation as to what organization within CA is making sure these new practicianers are fully trained and using proper procedures or who is monitoring them. There are no proficiency exams that need to be passed to do these procedures under CA law.

        • FA Miniter

          Sounds to me as though there is no safety issue. It is just your opposition to abortion. The medical boards are probably sick of getting false claims of safety issues. I would say that you are more likely to endanger a woman’s life with these calls of WOLF, because if a real issue comes along, it will be buried in all of the noise.

      • brisonc3

        FA Miniter wrote:

        “Sounds to me as though there is no safety issue. It is just your opposition to abortion. The medical boards are probably sick of getting false claims of safety issues. I would say that you are more likely to endanger a woman’s life with these calls of WOLF, because if a real issue comes along, it will be buried in all of the noise.”

        Gosnell proved there is a safety issue as well as a habit of pro-choice politicians(in that case a Republican Pro-Choice Gov.) to not enforce strict oversight over “women’s health facilities” and thus result in clinics like Gosnell’s. As to how many other practicianers are like Gosnell, pro-choicers really don’t care to know and stand in the way of laws which mandate surprise inspections of clinics, again because of the belief that “access” to “abortion care” is most important and such inspection are “harrassment”. However it was just such ideas that resulted in Gosnell being able to operate for years without oversight.

        So it is wrong to say that reports of safety violations to local medical boards, as FA Miniter claims, is “crying wolf”. They can’t know this until inspections and investigations are actually put in motion and completed and such reports made open to the public who have the right to know which medical facilities are truly “safe” and “santitary” and that procedures are performed by appropriate staff with full certifications for the procedures each is performing. This doesn’t happen if pro-choice politicians like former Gov. Ridge in PA or Gov. Sebilius in Kansas(now head of HHS under Obama) doesn’t enforce current oversight or opposes the legislature from passing state laws to mandate such oversight by local officials not motivated by politics regarding “a woman’s right to choose”. If a woman has a right to choose then pro-choicers claim every such woman has a right to facilities with well-trained and certified staff and sanitary facilities. So it is strange how pro-choicers oppose oversight and strict standards.

        Now there reply is “but women’s health providers are the only ones affected and targetted for stricter oversight and not other facilities”, but that is because the same complaints and problems haven’t been made or found with other specialties, nor do you have elected politicians and local health officials running interference for and not enforcing regulations and oversight over Dentists and Podiatrists. Women haven’t been found injured and killed under such practicianers, but women have been injured and have died in abortion facilities, including Planned Parenthood. So THAT is the reason for the laws targetting abortion facilities. For too long the inspection and regulation of such facilities by non-political officials were strongly resisted and not enforced, so now regulations are needed to make sure such is no longer the case.

        • FA Miniter

          Gosnell was one case out of tens of thousands. The doctors who perform abortions have to be admitted to practice as doctors in the state. That is their certification.

          Can you point specifically to any other case other than Gosnell where the abortions are performed in unsanitary conditions? Otherwise, it appears you are just jumping from one case to all abortion doctors.

          On the basis of such reasoning, we should not allow police officers to carry guns because so many of them shoot innocent people.

          • jaybird1951

            I don’t believe that abortionists number in the tens of thousands as you claim. Their numbers are far smaller and steadily declining. It is a despised “profession.”

          • FA Miniter

            Perhaps, I overstated the numbers. As of early this year, there are 724 abortion clinics nationwide, with about 1790 doctors. Of course, any Ob-Gyn is qualified to perform an abortion at a hospital, and there are many Ob-Gyns.

            By the way, according to the following study, Weitz TA, et al., Safety of aspiration abortion performed by nurse
            practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants under a
            California legal waiver, American Journal of Public Health, 2013, 103:454-461, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures with less than 0.5% risk of a major complication.

            And maybe you are out of your mind with hatred for abortion, but in my part of the country, New England, many women are grateful for the service. Not despised here at all.

    • brisonc3

      Gosnell is a convicted, serial murderer. Does that really have to be referrenced or spelled out for anyone? What is erroneous about it?

      • Papa Mincho

        PA already has laws against late-term abortion, which allowed the Gosnell incident to happen in the first place.

  • Recyclednews

    It is no wonder the author did not want his/her name on this piece. The author is is hackish and unprofessional, and any J school would give the writer of this piece an F.

  • n_coast

    The article has a byline now (9/7evening).

  • GetSmarty

    Thank you, Molly, for the strong and timely rebuttal. Bloomberg and the hard left must be held accountable for their barbaric advocacy and promotion of a for profit industry that kills tiny boys and girls in the womb.
    Every evil starts with a lie–and the planned parenthood profit moguls are finally getting caught in all of theirs–whether it be through ultrasound photos or honest, civilized reporting such as yours.

  • brisonc3

    The authors name for this piece is Mollie Hemingway. If you click on MOLLIE at the top of the piece it will take you to the site where this piece came from. It’s a page titled, GET RELIGION. So there is access to this information if you want it, nothing hidden.


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