NRL News

Those embarrassingly one-sided abortion stereotypes

by | Apr 11, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Melinda Henninger

Last month I wrote a piece that generated many email responses, as I knew it would. Not because the story was particularly well written but because it told the tale of a fable written by a New York Times columnist which was—from the pro-abortionist point of view—too perfect by half. (See

Melinda Henneberger came to discuss Frank Bruni’s bogus (my term, not hers) column in today’s Washington Post. Henneberger is a Post political writer who anchors the paper’s ‘She the People’ blog, and who is very talented.

In a nutshell, two years ago an old college roommate rediscovers Bruni. He not only has “grown”—thrown overboard all that traditional Catholic stuff, including his faith—he has gone completely over to the dark side: he now performs abortion.

But that’s only half the good news. This whack job pro-life protestor who stands on a ladder, the better to call women entering the abortion clinic despicable names, sneaks into the abortion clinic. Once that’s done, she has no hesitation about reassuming her old position to scream the same old indignities at the women entering the abortion clinic.

Naturally, the old roommate/abortionist is kind and philosophical as opposed to the banshee, hypocritical pro-life demonstrator who is as heartless as ever.

Henninger is too kind to accuse Bruni of embellishment; if done, it was the abortionist’s doing. And of course, as I wrote, it IS possible that such a woman exists.

Henninger is keen enough to note, however, “that a number of strikingly similar versions of the lady on the ladder tale have been reported before.” Moreover, it does strike Henninger as odd that if she does exist , this woman doesn’t go somewhere else.

But the best part of her column is that Henninger puts Bruni’s preposterous column in the larger context of a recurring theme. She writes

“Speaking of preconceived notions, however, my beef is that those who oppose abortion are routinely depicted as some combo of unhinged and hypocritical, and abortion providers as virtuous and brave. Doesn’t this neat delineation ever strike writers who on other topics gravitate to texture and complexity as quite the coincidence? Nope, so even when the news of an abortion doctor who is most certainly not up for secular canonization gets out, it’s barely mentioned outside right-to-life or church media.”

Henninger, speaking of “one-note coverage,” brings up the abortion documentary “12th and Delaware.” Without going into any detail, the occupants of a crisis pregnancy center are portrayed as, at best, marginally sane while across the street (to quote Henninger) “we meet the warm, nurturing grandparents who run an abortion clinic, and only want what’s best for their clients.”

And where she is most on the money is that she is amazed that the film, which is as one-sided as it possible to be, “was hailed first and foremost as being uncommonly even-handed, with equal appeal to those on all sides.”

Naturally, to keep her credentials intact, Henninger tells her readers that she is not the kind of pro-lifer who believes in “shaming, punishment, or chasing pregnant women around with trans-vaginal probes.” But to her credit, she ends on a strong note. She writes about believing that unborn children are people and hoping  the day will come when we look at “abortion as we now look back on slavery – as a wrong so culturally accepted we couldn’t see it at the time.”

“The lady on the ladder, and other abortion stereotypes” is a strong column, very much worth reading at

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Categories: pro-abortion