CNSNews.com has been promoting right-wing efforts to demonize and ban the abortion drug mifepristone, and that effort continued in commentaries in advance of a court ruling in one case seeking to outlaw the drug. A Feb. 16 column by Bill Donohue used the pejorative "chemical abortion" to describe the pills and cited anti-abortion activist Ingrid Skop (whom CNS has also promoted) to fearmonger about mifepristone and "the prevalence of non-doctors performing abortions across the country."
A March 6 column by Lathan Watts of the right-wing activist group Alliance Defending Freedom parroted the arguments used by anti-abortion activisrts in the lawsuit, which thte ADF is taking part in:
The FDA never studied the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use, ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls, disregarded the substantial evidence that chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions, and eliminated necessary safeguards for pregnant girls and women who undergo the dangerous drug regimen.
ADF attorneys have participated in multiple interviews with major news outlets covering the litigation, including CBS, PBS, and The Washington Post.
Nowhere in the final published versions of their coverage did the journalists at these outlets mention the many women who have died from taking these drugs, nor did they report the experiences that our frontline doctors shared with them about how America’s emergency rooms are treating women harmed by dangerous chemical abortion drugs. Not once did their news coverage include the FDA repeal of a reporting requirement for non-fatal complications, suggesting willful ignorance to the dangers unleashed on American women. And there was nary a mention of the bureaucratic stonewalling for 14 years that prevented litigation until recently. Instead, the phrases “safe and effective” and “on the market for 20 years” appear multiple times.
In fact, the death risk from mifepristone is much lower than that from penicillin or Viagra. Nevertheless, he ranted:
A government accountable to its citizens and a free and independent press working to assure this accountability are two vitally essential elements of a republic. This lawsuit and the resulting media coverage demonstrate the public’s distrust is more than justified. Tragically, this is far more serious than typical bureaucratic incompetence and media bias; lives are at stake.
How many more women must die, knock on death’s door, or risk serious injury for the FDA to abandon its “safe and effective” mantra? And when will the national news media summon the courage and integrity to ask them?
Editor Terry Jeffrey spent his March 8 column hyping the lawsuit, which started by huffing that "In September 2000, not long before Clinton finished his second term in office, the FDA approved the use of abortion-inducing drugs in the United States." He concluded with an anti-abortion screed:
The administration completely ignores the fact that not only is there a death associated with the use of these drugs, it is the very purpose of these drugs.
An unborn child is a human being. A drug that is designed to abort the life of that unborn child is a drug designed to kill a human being.
This is what the FDA approved when it approved drugs that induce abortion: the killing of a human being.
Commentary editor Georgiana Constantin-Parke used a March 21 column to again promote Skop's activist attacks on mifepristone. She also complained that "Medical abortions apparently carry with them a risk of complications four times higher than surgical abortions" without mentioning that surgical abortions are also being targeted by anti-abortion activists, and hyped the alleged "terrible dangers" without disclosing that other drugs have higher risks. She concluded with her own anti-abortion rant:
But for those looking to politicize the abortion debate, nothing is too nonsensical or dangerous to attempt or legalize. They seem to leisurely sit on the sidelines and watch the effects of their policies: dead babies, traumatized and dead women, a polarized society, a manipulated narrative and populace. They teach other to raise clothing hangers and shout “never again!” or “keep abortion safe” while ensuring that the procedure is in fact increasingly turned into a horrific, traumatizing, and life threatening experience.
Constantin-Parke didn't mention that anti-abortion activists are the ones making it a "horrific, traumatizing, and life threatening experience" by imposing needless regulation on the procedure that are driven much more by ideology than medicine -- much like CNS' own commentaries are doing.