On this week’s episode, John Gerardi and Jonathan Keller zig while others zag by talking about last week’s hot topic: Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims’ harassment of peaceful pro-life protesters. Representative Sims took video of himself berating an elderly woman and several teenage girls for several minutes, and offered money to anyone who could identify them and post their personal information on the internet. Compare this to January’s incident after the March for Life, when a group of teenagers looked quizzically at a Native American man, leading to an extended national story (and attack on the “race problem” with the pro-life movement). That story continued for weeks in multiple national news outlets. Rep. Sims, on the other hand, has so far escaped without media coverage or consequences for his actions. John notes that locally, members of the 40 Days for Life protest have encountered similar hostility from pro-choice men.
Media coverage, in general, has declined from skilled research to superficial “reading someone else’s tweet aloud,” and there are more outlets for opinions than ever before while media is controlled by fewer and fewer huge companies. Twitter has previously banned pro-life posts by Live Action, and has “shadow-banned” other pro-life accounts. Last month, Senator Ted Cruz questioned a Twitter official regarding the website’s removal of a quote by Mother Teresa regarding abortion. There are only a few media companies, and they are all promoters of Planned Parenthood. The Libertarian mindset of “if you don’t like Twitter/Facebook/Google, go start your own” is implausible Is it a coincidence that protests against Georgia’s newly-passed Heartbeat Bill were trending on Twitter for days, but late-term abortion laws in Virginia and New York went unnoticed?
John and Jonathan also talked about the Georgia Heartbeat Bill, one of several similar bills to be passed or proposed recently nationwide. This bill bans abortion after fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is possible at about 5-6 weeks of pregnancy. Bills like this challenge Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which is the controlling abortion ruling in America. PP v. Casey gives pre-viability abortion the highest legal protections possible so that they cannot be banned and can only be minimally regulated. Thus, any law banning pre-viability abortions – like the Georgia bill does – is in clear violation of this ruling and will be immediately appealed and injuncted. This sounds like a bad thing, but it’s actually a necessary strategy.
With the change in the Supreme Court’s membership, now is the perfect time to see how far we can go: can we overturn PP v. Casey? Can we overturn the final holding of Roe v. Wade? Can we get to a place where individual states can regulate abortion as they see fit? Passing these bills, which will be immediately appealed, is the first step to getting this issue in front of the Supreme Court.
In reaction to the Georgia bill, commentators such as CNN’s Chris Cuomo – against whose family John declared an Italian blood feud – have given a total pass to misinformation such as a pro-choice guests assertion that “When a woman is pregnant, that’s not a human being inside her.” Other commentators have argued that “fetal heartbeat” is not a true heartbeat but “pulsating cardiac tissue,” which is of course nonsense.
Finally, John and Jonathan talked about an article in a recent New England Journal of Medicine. The Department of Health and Human Services has introduced rules to enforce Title X regulations and withhold funding from abortion providers. In response, this article proposes moving away from standalone abortion clinics in favor of encouraging primary care physicians to administer medication abortions. This is concerning when considered with other proposals to remove conscience protections from physicians.