Wednesday, July 28, 2004
In an editor's note today, the New York Times has the following helpful background on the infamous triplet-abortion column from last week (you can read the previous MoJ posts on the colum here, here, here, and here):
The Lives column in The Times Magazine on July 18 gave a firstperson account of the experience of Amy Richards, who had been pregnant with triplets and decided to abort two of the fetuses. Ms. Richards, who told her story to a freelance Times Magazine contributor, Amy Barrett, discussed her anxiety about having triplets, the procedure to terminate two of the pregnancies and the healthy baby she eventually delivered; she expressed no regret about her decision.
The column identified Ms. Richards as a freelancer at the time of her pregnancy but should have also disclosed that she is an abortion rights advocate who has worked with Planned Parenthood, as well as a co-founder of a feminist organization, the Third Wave Foundation, which has financed abortions. That background, which would have shed light on her mind-set, was incorporated in an early draft, but it was omitted when an editor condensed the article.
Not to be too conspiratorial, but that seems to be a fairly significant omission, for by erasing her background, the Times effectively laundered the column into a woman-on-the-street perspective of a (purportedly) average New Yorker basking in the amoral wonders of lifestyle-preserving medical technology, rather than a professional abortion rights advocate pushing the boundaries of pro-choice ideology.
UPDATE: A reader steered me to another blog raising the possibility that the column was timed to coincide with Planned Parenthood's launch of the "I had an abortion" shirts. At a minimum, there's some eyebrow-raising connections to all of this. Read about them here.