In June 2017, Fox News dropped its “fair and balanced” slogan. Coined by co-founder Roger Ailes, it was frequently scorned and ridiculed by the left. Facing multiple accusations of sexual harassment, Ailes resigned as Fox News CEO and chairman in 2016, and then died in May 2017. Dropping the “fair and balanced” slogan was one way Fox News tried to distance itself from Ailes.
Surprisingly, perhaps, I found a recent (5/15/2022) “Fox News Sunday” broadcast, hosted by Shannon Bream, to be somewhat, but not entirely, fair and balanced. Two governors, one Republican and one Democrat, were interviewed on the topic of abortion.
Bream noted that Governor Kevin Stitt (R-Oklahoma) signed a trigger law that would make it a felony to perform abortion punishable by up to 10 years in jail and up to $100,000 in fines. Bream quoted Dr. Maya Bass, an Oklahoma doctor who said, “these laws are being created by people who have no medical expertise. They’re not being created with patient safety or medical outcomes in mind. They’re created entirely to control bodies.”
Stitt responded that he represents 4 million Oklahomans and “I don’t know how much clearer we can be. We believe life begins at conception, and we’re going to protect life in Oklahoma.” Stitt noted that “in Oklahoma alone, 5,000 unborn children were killed last year.”
In early May 2022, Stitt signed a Texas-style abortion ban that prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. “I want Oklahoma to be the most prolife state in the country,” Stitt later tweeted.
(One could reasonably argue that if, as Stitt believes, life begins at conception, then an abortion at 2 weeks or 4 weeks or 6 weeks is as wrong as an abortion at 2 months or 4 months or 6 months.)
Bream cited a Pew Research study that found 51% of Oklahoman respondents believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Stitt disputed that percentage, claiming that’s “not what we find with the people in Oklahoma ... I totally disagree with those numbers.” Stitt offered no valid numbers or statistics to refute the Pew Research study.
Bream noted that in Oklahoma 21.3% of children live below the poverty line, 71% of SNAP benefits go to families with children, and Oklahoma ranked 42nd overall in child wellbeing. (U.S. News & World Report ranks Oklahoma 48th in healthcare.) Bream asked if Oklahoma had a plan to help the poor and pregnant women being told they must carry their pregnancies full-term.
Stitt replied that it’s “just ridiculous to even kind of quote those types of stats. We have a free market in Oklahoma. We believe that God has a special plan for every single life and every single child, and we want everybody to have the same opportunities in Oklahoma. And aborting a child is not the right answer.”
In short, Stitt’s answer was No. The state of Oklahoma does not have a plan to help poor and pregnant women bear and raise children they know they can’t afford. But Oklahoma has “a free market” — whatever that means. And, most importantly, God has “a special plan” for poor unwanted children.
Bream then introduced Governor Jared Polis (D-Colorado), reminding viewers that 6 years before Roe v. Wade, Colorado became the first state to decriminalize abortion.
Bream noted that the governor had recently signed into law the Reproductive Health Equity Act. It states that a “pregnant individual has a fundamental right to continue their pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion. I don’t see any structures related to weeks or trimesters. Does that mean in Colorado now there’s a right to abortion up to birth?”
Polis replied: “What we did here is we preserved essentially the Roe versus Wade protection in Colorado because fundamentally, Shannon, what we believe is this is not about the government making that decision. It’s about women making that decision. And to sort of win this battle, it’s about the hearts and minds of women — not the laws of men.
“For the government to insert itself in that conversation between a doctor and a woman, a faith leader and a woman, is simply wrong. I think we need to approach this a different way. I think there’s a lot of common ground around reducing unwanted pregnancies, empowering women and men with birth control.”
According to Wikipedia: “Many early Church Fathers made statements condemning the use of contraception including John Chrysostom, Jerome, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus of Rome, Augustine of Hippo and various others. Among the condemnations is one by Jerome which refers to an apparent oral form of contraception: ‘Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception.’
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church specifies that all sex acts must be both unitive and procreative. In addition to condemning use of artificial birth control as intrinsically evil, non-procreative sex acts ... are ruled out as ways to avoid pregnancy.
“The Catholic position on contraception was formally explained and expressed by Pope Paul VI’s Humanae vitae in 1968. Artificial contraception is considered intrinsically evil, but methods of natural family planning may be used, as they do not usurp the natural way of conception.”
The Pope was referring to the so-called rhythm method — a type of birth control that requires a woman to monitor when she is fertile and avoid sexual activity, or the use of other types of birth control such as condoms, during that time. I was a young teenager in 1968. There was a popular joke among Catholics: Q. What do you call people who use the rhythm method? A. Parents.
Wikipedia continues: “In 1997, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family stated: The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity; it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony), and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life.”
Why should a group of celibate men make decisions about human sexuality? I recall another popular joke among Catholics in the ‘60s. The punchline was directed at the Pope who was traditionally Italian: “You no play-a da game — you no make-a da rules.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, “99% of all women of reproductive age who have ever had sex — including 98% of such Catholic women — have used a method of contraception other than natural family planning.
“By their early 20s, some 79% of never-married women — and 89% of never-married Catholic women — have had sex. (Presumably, all married women have done so.) In short, most American women (including Catholics) have had sex by their early 20s, and virtually all of them have used contraceptives other than natural family planning.”
Six of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices are Catholic. Five are conservative anti-abortionists. I wonder if any of them have used “intrinsically evil” forms of birth control. Why do many Catholics disobey their Church’s teachings that they find inconvenient, and then impose their Church’s teachings on others when it seems advantageous?
Such Catholics are hypocrites, and worse—
Mark Heinz lives at Nolin Lake. Visit his website at amazon.com/author/markheinzbooks.