On June 12, award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa’s piece, “Abortion Providers Under Siege,” examined the roots of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller’s assassination. In a timely and informative report, Hinojosa analyzes whether the violence directed against doctors who perform abortions can be viewed as domestic terrorism. NLIRH sent a letter to PBS producers today thanking them for producing “Abortion Providers Under Siege,” and to applaud NOW and Maria Hinojosa’s journalism.
Hinojosa profiles two abortion providers, Dr. Warren Hern and Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who describe the constant threats to their security and that of their families as well as the endless harassment of their potential patients. Her piece vividly illustrates how the anti-choice movement uses intimidation, violence and other kinds of pressure to reduce the number of providers as part of an overall effective political strategy.
Hinojosa also examines the role of right wing media in drumming up the radical anti-choice movement, showing numerous clips of conservative talk-show host Bill O’Reilly mentioning “Tiller the killer” on air. Turning a critical eye toward anti-choice websites, she shows how they encourage violent action by displaying photos of abortion providers, providing home addresses, aerial photos of clinics and maps of security cameras at the clinics.
NOW on PBS has provided an invaluable contribution the national debate on abortion and Maria Hinojosa should be praised for her important and courageous piece. Unsurprisingly, it has come to our attention that anti-choice groups are organizing against PBS and pressuring the network. Although we are fearful of the effect that this kind of collective action can have on the stories a media company chooses to air, we are confident in the strong vindication of Maria Hinojosa’s journalistic efforts provided by the appointed ombudsman, Ken A. Bode.
We actively supports the right of Latinas and every woman to seek a safe and affordable abortion. Although the Roe v. Wade decision gave women the right to a safe and legal abortion over thirty years ago, the fight for abortion rights and access has continued. With a strong politically conservative constituency and an increasingly vitriolic national debate over a woman’s right to choose, preserving reproductive rights continues to be an uphill battle.
Fair and accurate information from media outlets and reporters, such as that of PBS is essential if we are to succeed in our efforts to achieve reproductive justice for all women. We encourage PBS and other media outlets to continue to produce this kind of programming and support meaningful journalism.
Contributed by Ivette Sanchez, Communities in Action Intern