Topic: Media Research Center
A Nov. 2 MRC Culture & Media Institute article by Carolyn Plocher claims that the media is ignoring the story of Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood official in Texas who resigned her post after, she claims, watching an ultrasound of an abortion procedure. But Plocher is ignoring a few things too -- like questions about the veracity of her story.
As Amanda Marcotte at Double X writes:
Johnson seems to be selling a story that's a tad too pat, too close to what anti-choicers want to hear.
Johnson worked at a clinic that provides abortion, amongst other things. Therefore, she's probably seen a whole lot of ultrasound-enabled abortions. Providing ultrasound is standard part of an abortion, because gestational age determines the exact procedure, and whether or not the clinic can even do it. Anyone who has worked in or even spoken to someone about working in a clinic knows that there's not a lot of mystery around the procedure, and so Johnson's story of a sudden revelation about the nature of abortion simply doesn't seem possible. Indeed, I should remind you that 99.9 percent of clinic workers who see ultrasounds and provide abortions don't have sudden, suspicious religious conversions. Most of them feel pretty damn good about giving women the freedom to choose.
Plocher also writes about the restraining order Planned Parenthood is seeking against Johnson and the Coalition for Life, the anti-abortion group she's affiliated with now: "What could the organization possibly have to hide? Maybe racists trying to kill black babies or employees advising girls to deny statutory rape." In fact, Salon.com reports:
A copy of Planned Parenthood's petition for the restraining order obtained by Salon suggests it might not be as simple as these commentators claim. The document says that Johnson was put on a performance improvement plan on Oct. 2 of this year. That same day, she was allegedly seen "removing items from the Health Center." Days later, Johnson was allegedly seen copying "confidential files." Some time later, a physician from another city who occasionally works for Planned Parenthood's Bryan clinic reported that a protester from 40 Days for Life, a campaign that aims for a constant, around-the-clock presence in front of targeted clinics and is also linked to Coalition for Life, said that they "knew that the physician worked for [Planned Parenthood] in Bryan."
The petition additionally claims that Johnson told a nurse practitioner who works for Planned Parenthood that she had passed along the provider's résumé, home address and phone number to Coalition for Life. Johnson also reportedly told a clinic employee that "something big" was going to take place this past weekend during the finale of the organization's latest 40-day protest, although the big something apparently never materialized.
There's a lot more going on here than Plocher reports. So what does Plocher have to hide?