Coverage of reproductive rights features almost no reproductive health experts

On cable news, coverage of the Texas abortion restrictions has been light on medical experts. Via Media Matters: texas-whole


I think there’s something to be said for including political commentators in conversations about an issue that is so clearly political. I’m also grateful when advocates for reproductive justice are given a place at the table, since, again, this is a justice issue and not just a medical one. But I also want doctors, and public health experts – people who can explain why abortion bans are medically harmful and why forced vaginal ultrasounds are medically unnecessary. The more viewers know about that stuff, the better they can understand the politics of the situation. But based on these graphs, it looks like coverage of these issues is falling into the very same trap as the lawmakers themselves: a whole bunch of people who aren’t doctors sitting around talking about reproductive health.

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Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • Katie Doyle

    It seems to me that the reason health experts–or anyone remotely associated with science–are not called upon in this debate because the government doesn’t want it to be about science, or anything objective for that matter. In other words, the abortion debate is not grounded in facts at its core; in fact, the pro-choice and anti-choice sides are arguing from contradictory premises about the beginning of human life and ideas of autonomy. That’s probably why this debate is still raging on like it is.

    This debate has become a philosophical one, which is probably why “experts” are left out of it. On that note, however, I can’t qualify politicians as great philosophers either. It can be so dangerous for philosophical ideas to affect REAL medical procedures inflicted on women (e.g. forced transvaginal ultrasounds or the absence of safe abortion resources). When we get too caught up in a moral argument, people become less real, less concrete than before–and we all know what happens when humans are made less human.

  • Average Bear

    We need to stop caring what cable news says…

  • Franzia Kafka

    Were 60 of those 70 mentions on MSNBC from Rachel Maddow? She’s had excellent and comprehensive coverage of the uptick in anti-abortion laws. At least somebody on cable news understands how bad this is.

  • Jessica

    I stopped watching television. I honestly feel so much better without it. I have Netflix for basic movies and TV shows and that’s really it, aside from the occasional streaming website that carries a show I want to watch. My dad still watches the news (*sigh* sadly it’s Fox News and he’s a conservative) and he always gets so angry and riled up over ‘the liberals’ as he calls us or them or whoever he thinks is a liberal. I have always hated the news and really it makes no difference to me what news station it is, it’s all intended to instill some form of fear-driven agenda into people which is wrong.

    People should try and avoid mass media television and even some online and paper media outlets that do this. At that point they are no longer interested in bringing the truth to light but to spin the truth or the lies they create and churn money out of it. I try and take everything with a grain of salt now, even this website. I like this site because it follows issues I care about but I also take care to do my own research on the side. We must be careful when viewing any news source and we must be aware of it’s bias.