Pro-life groups respond as Planned Parenthood figure claims media distorts coverage against pro-choicers

“Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter asked Smith, who formerly worked for CBS News, to comment on split screen coverage of individuals cheering and jeering the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court ruling that legalized abortion.  

“That 50-50 split. Isn’t that actually misleading? Isn’t that actually distorting?” Stelter asked.  

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People protest about abortion, Friday, June 24, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washington. 

People protest about abortion, Friday, June 24, 2022, outside the Supreme Court in Washington.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

“Absolutely, Brian,” Smith said. “That is a complete distortion of the facts that we know about how people feel about abortion access, and specifically the legality of abortion.”

“We know that 8 in 10 Americans want abortion to be legal,” she said. “So when you put that split screen up, you know one person who loves it, one person who hates, well that’s completely ignoring the facts.”

Eight in 10 Americans approve of legalized abortion, but the “vast majority” also believe there should be at least some restrictions on the procedure, a Gallup survey from September 2020 found.

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Pro-life activists pushed back on Smith’s narrative surrounding the statistic, as well as her assertions about the media. 

The Supreme Court building is barricaded following the Roe vs. Wade ruling. 

The Supreme Court building is barricaded following the Roe vs. Wade ruling.  (Joshua Comins/Fox News Digital)

“The problem with statements like that is the lack of a follow-up question because if you like any limits on abortion, you never liked Roe,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told Fox News Digital. “Abortion will be not the Democrats’ ticket out of the electoral mess they’ve created, because ending innocent life isn’t really a positive agenda. And with the Supreme Court now out of the way, a vigorous debate will be engaged to go past unsupported statements about so-called support for all abortion.” 

Hawkins pointed to a Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus in January that showed at least 7 in 10 Americans want abortion limits. The poll found that 17 percent of Americans want abortion available any time throughout pregnancy, while 12 percent said abortion should be allowed only during the first six months of pregnancy. Twenty-two percent said abortion should only be available during the first three months of pregnancy, and 49 percent of Americans responded that abortion should be only allowed in rare circumstances, or never. 

Hawkins added that Students for Life’s Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement Poll of Millennials and Gen Z found that 8 in 10 wanted a voice and a vote on abortion, which Roe “did not offer as it put the power in the hands of courts.”

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Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, found it funny that Smith was complaining about supposedly skewed news coverage when, she said, the media has been “complicit” in its abortion coverage for decades.

“It’s laughable for a Planned Parenthood spokesperson to complain about news coverage, when for almost 50 years the news media has been complicit in the lie of abortion, calling abortion advocates euphemistically ‘pro-choice’ when we know it’s the worst possible choice a woman can make for her and her child,” Nance told Fox News Digital. “The majority of Americans know the truth and are pro-life, 71% believe in restrictions on abortion and have since Roe v. Wade became law in 1973.”

“Not only have abortion advocates had the media on their side, Planned Parenthood has received billions of dollars from the federal government paid for by hard-working Americans,” Nance continued. “The government funding of abortion giant Planned Parenthood needs to end immediately, and we are calling on Congress to direct those funds to pregnancy care centers, adoption and foster care resources at the Department of Health and Human Services, and more help for women in need.” 

Former CBS News reporter Kate Smith quit her job last year to speak out more forcefully on abortion rights. She recently joined Planned Parenthood on a full-time basis as its news content director. 

Former CBS News reporter Kate Smith quit her job last year to speak out more forcefully on abortion rights. She recently joined Planned Parenthood on a full-time basis as its news content director.  (Twitter)

Eric J. Scheidler, executive director of Pro-Life Action League, cited his group’s own data to also dispute Smith’s take. He said that her claim a large majority supports the Roe “regime” is “simply false.”

“All the survey data we have shows that Americans are deeply divided on abortion, with about 20% at either end of the spectrum saying abortion should either always be legal or never be legal, and the remaining 60% supporting some legal abortion and some restrictions—including many restrictions not allowed under Roe v. Wade,” he told Fox Digital. “The Mississippi law upheld in the Dobbs ruling, banning abortion after 15 weeks, is actually more permissive than the laws of most European countries, and is supported by a majority of Americans. The claim that a huge majority of Americans support the abortion regime under Roe is simply false, and doesn’t fit either the actual polling data we have, nor the political movement in half of American states to limit abortion, which would not be succeeding without significant public support in those states.” 

Smith quit CBS News in July 2021 so she could speak out more forcefully on abortion rights. She had been covering “abortion access” for CBS since October 2018, where she was criticized by conservatives for appearing biased.

“Now that I’m not a reporter I can be candid about my own opinions on reproductive rights,” Smith tweeted of her decision. “I’ll say this: With or without Roe v Wade access to abortion is disappearing across the South and Midwest for low income women. And it’s happening more or less under the radar.”

Smith didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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