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Washington Post columnist illustrates the “Abortion Distortion” on steroids

by | Mar 17, 2021

By Dave Andrusko

Over the years, in contexts other than abortion, I’ve profited from reading Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle.

For example, in 2017, he wrote a column, “Could we be wrong?” that was utterly fascinating for reasons that had nothing to do with what was in reality a paean to his late boss, Katherine Graham (and was so gushy it made your skin crawl). 

But he did raise the issue whether the Institutional Press—the Big Boys who used to rule the roost without challenge—had given up any pretense at objectivity. Von Drehle, in a back-handed way, suggested in too many cases, they had.

But then there’s yesterday diatribe, the title of which tells you everything: “The anti-‘Roe v. Wade’ movement is increasingly disconnected from facts.”  

Let’s address four of the many more assertions we could tackle.

#1. For a writer who often writes with care (except when flattering his boss), there is nothing in this opinion piece that is remotely subtle. The beginning and the end are ugly and laced with personal attacks and undertones of religious bigotry.

For example, we’re lectured that pro-life Republican officeholders who have passed bills signed into law by pro-life Republicans governors 

have been chasing votes and raising money on this issue for decades. The end of Roe v. Wade is always just around the next bend, a carrot dangled in front of the conservative electorate, enticing the base to keep pulling the wagon.

Why? For starters, I suspect Von Drehle, good liberal that he is, “knows” this to be true. Besides, the Supreme Court hasn’t overturned Roe v. Wade

Talk about ironic. Pro-abortionist organizations (aided by their legion of media enablers) raise money hand over fist on the mere threat that Roe is going to be overturned. Are they just “raising money”? I’m confident the thought would never cross his mind. After all, pro-abortionists would never do something as crass as “chase votes,” right?

#2. “Over time, the anti-Roe movement has become its own cottage industry, increasingly disconnected from real-world facts,” Von Drehle pronounces. “Most important of these: According to definitive statistics from the Guttmacher Institute, American women undergo abortions at significantly lower rates today than they did in 1973, the year of the Supreme Court’s first ruling.”

This intersects with a later point: “The steep drop in abortions has been a nationwide phenomenon, occurring in states where access is comparatively easy and in states where clinics face hostile regulations.” 

This is incomplete/ wrong for multiple reasons.

The number of abortions in states with “hostile regulations” has gone down much more than states that don’t.  Von Drehle also neglects that states such as New York and Illinois in the past two years have passed absolutely laws allowing unregulated abortions through the end of pregnancy. Does he—does anyone—expect the numbers not to jump? 

So maybe laws do matter.

Then the whopper….

#3. “By guaranteeing access to contraception and by protecting the right to abortion under certain circumstances, the Supreme Court made room for this experiment [“when women have autonomy over their bodies”], and the court deserves some credit for the success. The result of reproductive freedom is fewer abortions, not more. No wonder the American public, by a strong majority, supports the existing constitutional framework around abortion.”

Whew! As we wrote a while back, Guttmacher, the pro-abortion think tank argues

that because there was a drop of abortion rates all across the country–in both states which did and states that did not pass abortion legislation–this indicates that such laws “do not appear to be the primary driver of declining abortion rates.”

Obviously, this begs the question. If true, why do Guttmacher and the abortion industry rail so vehemently against even the most modest protective legislation, laws that just guarantee that a woman knows about abortion’s risks and alternatives, laws that ensure that her clinic meets basic health and safety standards?

Guttmacher acknowledges only obliquely and in passing that laws passed in one state may still have an impact on another.

“It is possible,” Guttmacher admits, “that the declines in abortion these states [speaking of Iowa and West Virginia, which lost several clinics and saw larger abortion declines] reflect, at least in part, a decline in the number of individuals who crossed state lines to obtain care, since there were fewer clinics” (Guttmacher Release, 9/18/19)

Speaking of “facts,” he writes, as noted above, “No wonder the American public, by a strong majority, supports the existing constitutional framework around abortion.”

But as we have demonstrated countless times, the public has only the foggiest notion of how unlimited the abortion “right” actually is. No doubt this is in large part because people like Von Drehle habitually write of “a limited right to abortion.” 

Our facts are actual facts, not the distortions and misrepresentations found in Von Drehle’s column. And

#4. He concludes, “One side says ‘choose life.’ The other says, choose freedom. The good news is we can choose both: more freedom and fewer abortions. The first one leads to the second.”

For all of the above, and more, unfettered abortion does not lead to “more freedom,” certainly not for the over 62.5 million aborted babies. It has led to an “understanding” that an unplanned pregnancy is absolutely the woman’s “responsibility” alone, as if she became pregnant on her own and as if the father to her child has no moral, ethical, or honorable obligations to her and their baby.

We will keep passing pro-life legislation and the Von Drehles of this world will insist it’s all an exercise in cynicism (by office holders) and/or an exercise in futility (by those of us who have devoted much of our lives to finding win-win solutions).

We will carry the day because mothers and unborn babies deserve a better fate.

Categories: Media Bias