In the eye of the beholder: abortion and media hypocrisy

Often in mainstream media, abortion is portrayed in a favourable light. Most topically, a front page Sydney Morning Herald article on August 6th reported a demand for free abortions, this was discussed in depth in a previous blog post. Without dealing with the specific issue of free abortions again here, it is interesting how this article, when compared with others, can bring to light some troubling contradictions for the pro-abortion advocate.

Another recent article, this time in the Daily Telegraph (July 30th 2012), was doing a follow up story on the tragic shooting that took place at the midnight screening of the latest Batman movie in a Colorado cinema. The subtitle of the article reads “The Dark Knight massacre gunman James Holmes has claimed his 13th victim…”. This seems striking as most would have thought the murderer was in custody, but the sentence finishes, “…after it was announced that pregnant survivor Ashley Moser suffered a tragic miscarriage.”
The article then outlines the specifics of the delayed tragedy for this poor mother:

“Ashley Moser was eight weeks pregnant when Holmes burst into an Aurora, Colorado cinema theatre on July 20 and opened fire killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.

Losing her baby while undergoing surgery for her wounds, the sad news comes eight days after her six-year-old daughter Veronica Moser was killed by 24-year-old Holmes at the Century 16 theatre.”

Whilst this particular death has nothing directly to do with abortion, it is no stretch of the imagination to see the connection. But before I make the connection more explicit I’ll provide yet another example.

The Australian newspaper on August 3rd published an article entitled “10 deaths linked to anti-flu vaccines”. However, another revealing subtitle reads, “Ten deaths have been linked to the nation’s flu immunisation program since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, including elderly patients and unborn babies.”

The point here, of course, is not to make a comment about American gun laws or to criticise the correlational evidence of immunisations causing death being paraded as causal proof, but to question the way we, as a society, talk about unborn children. The first article from the SMH is talking about abortion directly and thus, as seems to be the accepted form, is couched as a women’s right’s debate. The unborn child is treated as a mere extension of the woman’s body. However, in both the latter articles, the tragic “deaths” of unborn “babies” are enough to make headlines.

Whether or not much can be read in to these specific articles, I don’t know. But there is one thing that comes out of this that it is often apparent in the way our society talks about unborn children. If a new child is wanted and intended, then they are human persons, worthy of life and love, but if, for whatever reason, that child is not wanted or unintended, then they are a mere extension of someone else’s body.

When did the value of a human life become dependent on what others think of them? Surely, whether or not a living organism is a person and whether or not that life should be allowed to continue should not be a fact that is altered by how much that person is wanted. Intuitively, every human life has an independent, intrinsic value. There was no difference between Ashley Moser’s second child, only 8 weeks into life, and the millions of babies across the world that are aborted at that same age. Yet not one of them makes a headline in our news.

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