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GETTY IMAGESDavid McNew (January 2001)

UNITED STATES, October 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In a so-called “fact check” of the vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, CNN reporter Caroline Kelly presents a barrage of disinformation that hides the realities of late-term abortion and the agenda of the Biden–Harris campaign.

During the debate, Pence stated that “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support taxpayer funding of abortion all the way up to the moment of birth, late-term abortion.” CNN, which begins each of its fact checks with the phrase “Facts First,” uses a flurry of falsehoods to undercut Pence’s factual statement.

 

The “Medical Term” Farce

CNN begins its fact check with an attempt to delegitimize the phrase “late-term” abortion by declaring it “is not a medical term.” This claim is flatly disproven by medical journals that have published articles with titles like:

These medical journals and others, along with Planned Parenthood, abortion clinics, and media outlets have used the phrase “late-term” on numerous occasions to describe abortions that are performed from as few as 14 weeks into pregnancy to as many as 35 weeks or later.

More importantly, a vice-presidential debate is not a medical forum, CNN is not a medical periodical, and journalism guidelines bluntly instruct reporters to avoid medical jargon:

  • The book English for Journalists emphasizes: “A common source of jargon is scientific, medical, government and legal handouts,” and “if you write for a newspaper or general magazine you should try to translate jargon into ordinary English whenever you can.”

  • The New Oxford Guide to Writing states: “Jargon is technical language misused. Technical language, the precise diction demanded by any specialized trade or profession, is necessary when experts communicate with one another. It becomes jargon when it is applied outside the limits of technical discourse.”

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    PETITION UPDATE (10/26//2020)

    In a resounding victory for supporters of life, family and freedom, the U.S. Senate has just confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States!

    Justice Barrett was sworn-in by Justice Clarence Thomas and will swiftly fill the vacant seat and immediately begin participating in Supreme Court hearings.

    The petitions signed by many of you - there are now over 40,000 signatures - supporting Judge Amy Coney Barrett were sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as to the Officers of the USCCB.

    Thank you for signing these petitions. As you can see, your signature really does make a difference!

    We also know that many of you also made calls to your U.S. senators to encourage them to vote for Judge Barrett. Thank you!

    __________________________________________________________________

    PETITION UPDATE (10/22/2020)

    The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee just voted to advance Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate, leaving only one hurdle to go next week.

    Every Republican on the committee voted for Barrett, President Donald Trump’s selection to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while every committee Democrat boycotted the vote, CNBC reports.

    Please READ the latest LifeSite article about the Senate Committee's vote here.

    As you read above, Judge Barrett has one more hurdle next Monday. Of course, it's the BIGGEST hurdle.

    So, if you haven't already, could we ask you to please call your U.S. senators to politely voice your support for Judge Barrett?

    After SIGNING this petition, please scroll down the page, where you will find the list of all U.S. senators' contact details.

    Let's keep working and praying so that we can see a pro-life judge sit on the Supreme Court.

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    PETITION UPDATE (10/15/20)

    The fourth day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearing for the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court is going on now.

    Please CLICK HERE to go to the livestream of the hearings.

    Please watch and read EXCLUSIVE LifeSite videos and articles about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's hearings:

    YouTube Videos:

    'We are people of faith, the true body of Christ': Christians pray for SCOTUS confirmation hearings'

    '"That's your job": Judge Barrett responds to relevance of Obamacare to SCOTUS confirmation'

    Articles:

    'Senator who badgered Barrett about Catholicism in 2017 presses her on abortion at confirmation hearing'

    'Hawley, Barrett dismantle religious tests for office at Supreme Court hearing'

    'Ted Cruz at Barrett hearing warns Democrats want to ‘erase’ religious liberty'

    ______________________________________________________________

    Conservatives and Christians asked President Trump to deliver a proven constitutional originalist with a solid pro-life background, and he did.

    Now, let's not be outdone by Leftist organizations which will be mobilizing their forces to write, call and visit their senators' constituency offices.

    Please SIGN this urgent petition - to Senate Leadership - asking them to quickly confirm Barrett as the next Supreme Court justice.

    Then, please take a couple of minutes to CALL YOUR U.S. SENATORS using their numbers below, and politely urge them to confirm Barrett.

    When Amy Coney Barrett's senate confirmation hearing begins on Monday, October 12th, the mother of seven and devout Catholic is expected to face fierce opposition.

    Of course, the anticipated attacks have nothing to do with Barrett's legal credentials, which are uniformly top-notch.

    Instead, they have to do with her faith in Jesus and with her belief that life begins at conception.

    This is nothing short of anti-Christian bigotry which cannot be tolerated.

    The fact is, Amy Coney Barrett is the best candidate for the job, and she urgently needs our support.

    By signing the petition, we can unite to powerfully speak with one voice. But, by calling your senators, you can ensure that they know their local constituents are concerned and interested enough to telephone their offices.

    This is our time to get active! We must voice our support for Amy Coney Barrett at this crucial moment in our nation's history.

    Please SIGN this petition, and then please use the contact details below to CALL YOUR U.S. SENATORS right-away! Thank you!

    U.S. SENATORS' CONTACT DETAILS:

    SENATORS AND PHONE NUMBERS -  https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact  

    ALABAMA SENATORS 

    Doug Jones – (202) 224-4124 

    Richard C. Shelby – (202) 224-5744 

    ALASKA SENATORS 

    Lisa Murkowski – (202) 224-6665 

    Dan Sullivan – (202) 224-3004 

    ARIZONA SENATORS 

    Martha McSally – (202) 224-2235 

    Kyrsten Sinema – (202) 224-4521 

    ARKANSAS SENATORS 

    John Boozman – (202) 224-4843 

    Tom Cotton – (202) 224-2353 

    CALIFORNIA SENATORS 

    Dianne Feinstein – (202) 224-3841 

    Kamala D. Harris – (202) 224-3553 

    COLORADO SENATORS 

    Michael F. Bennett – (202) 224-5852 

    Cory Gardner – (202) 224-5941 

    CONNECTICUT SENATORS 

    Richard Blumenthal – (202) 224-2823 

    Christopher Murphy – (202) 224-4041 

    DELAWARE SENATORS 

    Thomas R. Carper – (202) 224-2441 

    Christopher A. Coons – (202) 224-5042 

    FLORIDA SENATORS 

    Marco Rubio – (202) 224-3041 

    Rick Scott – (202) 224-5274 

    GEORGIA SENATORS 

    Kelly Loeffler – (202) 224-3643  

    David Perdue – (202) 224-3521 

    HAWAII SENATORS 

    Mazie K. Hirono – (202) 224-6361 

    Brian Schatz – (202) 224-3934 

    IDAHO SENATORS 

    Mike Crapo – (202) 224-6142 

    James E. Risch – (202) 224-2752 

    ILLINOIS SENATORS 

    Dick Durbin – (202) 224-2152 

    Tammy Duckworth – (202) 224-2854 

    INDIANA SENATORS 

    Mike Braun – (202) 224-4814 

    Todd Young – (202) 224-5623 

    IOWA SENATORS 

    Joni Ernst – (202) 224-3254 

    Chuck Grassley – (202) 224-3774 

    KANSAS SENATORS 

    Jerry Moran – (202) 224-6521 

    Pat Roberts – (202) 224-4744 

    KENTUCKY SENATORS 

    Mitch McConnell – (202) 224-2541 

    Rand Paul – (202) 224-4343 

    LOUISIANA SENATORS 

    Bill Cassidy – (202) 224-5824 

    John Kennedy – (202) 224-4623 

    MAINE SENATORS 

    Susan M. Collins – (202) 224-2523 

    Angus S. King – (202) 224-5344 

    MARYLAND SENATORS 

    Benjamin L. Cardin – (202) 224-4524 

    Chris Van Hollen – (202) 224-4654 

    MASSACHUSETS SENATORS 

    Edward J. Markey – (202) 224-2742 

    Elizabeth Warren – (202) 224-4543 

    MICHIGAN 

    Gary C. Peters – (202) 224-6221 

    Debbie Stabenow – (202) 224-4822 

    MINNESOTA 

    Amy Klobuchar – (202) 224-3244 

    Tina Smith – (202) 224-5641 

    MISSISSIPPI 

    Cindy Hyde-Smith – (202) 224-5054 

    Roger F. Wicker – (202) 224-6253 

    MISSOURI 

    Roy Blunt – (202) 224-5721 

    Josh Hawley – (202) 224-6154 

    MONTANA 

    Steve Daines – (202) 224-2651 

    Jon Tester – (202) 224-2644 

    NEBRASKA 

    Deb Fischer – (202) 224-6551 

    Ben Sasse – (202) 224-4224 

    NEVADA 

    Catherine Cortez Masto – (202) 224-3542 

    Jacky Rosen – (202) 224-6244 

    NEW HAMPSHIRE 

    Margaret Wood Hassan – (202) 224-3324 

    Jeanne Shaheen – (202) 224-2841 

    NEW JERSEY 

    Cory A. Booker – (202) 224-3224 

    Robert Menendez – (202) 224-4744 

    NEW MEXICO 

    Martin Heinrich – (202) 224-5521 

    Tom Udall – (202) 224-6621 

    NEW YORK 

    Kirsten E. Gillibrand – (202) 224-4451 

    Charles E. Schumer – (202) 224-6542 

    NORTH CAROLINA 

    Richard Burr – (202) 224-3154 

    Thom Tillis – (202) 224-6342 

    NORTH DAKOTA 

    Kevin Cramer – (202) 224-2043 

    John Hoeven – (202) 224-2551 

    OHIO  

    Sherrod Brown – (202) 224-2315 

    Rob Portman – (202) 224-3353 

    OKLAHOMA 

    James M. Inhofe – (202) 224-4721 

    James Lankford – (202) 224-5754 

    OREGON 

    Jeff Merkley – (202) 224-3753 

    Ron Wyden – (202) 224-5244 

    PENNSYLVANIA 

    Robert P. Casey, Jr. – (202) 224-6324 

    Patrick J. Toomey, Jr. – (202) 224-4254 

    RHODE ISLAND 

    Jack Reed – (202) 224-4642 

    Sheldon Whitehouse – (202) 224-2921 

    SOUTH CAROLINA 

    Lindsey Graham – (202) 224-5972 

    Tim Scott – (202) 224-6121 

    SOUTH DAKOTA 

    Mike Rounds – (202) 224-5842 

    John Thune – (202) 224-2321 

    TENNESSEE 

    Lamar Alexander – (202) 224-4944 

    Marsha Blackburn – (202) 224-3344 

    TEXAS 

    John Cornyn – (202) 224-2934 

    Ted Cruz – (202) 224-5922 

    UTAH 

    Mike Lee – (202) 224-5444 

    Mitt Romney – (202) 224-5251 

    VERMONT 

    Patrick J. Leahy – (202) 224-4242 

    Bernard Sanders – (202) 224-5141 

    VIRGINIA 

    Tim Kaine – (202) 224-4024 

    Mark R. Warner – (202) 224-2023 

    WASHINGTON 

    Maria Cantwell – (202) 224-3441 

    Patty Murray – (202) 224-2621 

    WEST VIRGINIA 

    Shelley Moore Capito – (202) 224-6472 

    Joe Manchin III – (202) 224-3954 

    WISCONSIN 

    Tammy Baldwin – (202) 224-5653 

    Ron Johnson – (202) 224-5323 

    WYOMING 

    John Barrasso – (202) 224-6441 

    Michael B. Enzi – (202) 224-3424

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  • The book Writing for Journalists drives home the point: “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”

In violation of that journalism standard, journalists selectively use medical jargon in ways that obscure the facts that:

A common example of how media outlets use clinical jargon to sanitize the facts of abortion is by inconsistently and incorrectly using the word “fetus,” a medical term derived from a Latin word meaning “offspring” or “newly delivered.” Reporters frequently use this term to describe the object of an abortion, but they use the word “mother” to refer to a pregnant woman instead of the clinically accurate term, “gravida.”

And when the topic is not abortion, journalists often shun the word “fetus” and use “baby” or “child” in its place. In fact, the ombudsman of the Boston Globe once apologized to its readers because the paper used the term “fetus” to describe an unborn child who was killed when his mother was shot in the stomach. The apology was sparked by a flurry of criticism from readers who objected that the Globe “truly dehumanized” the “child” and that “every other news channel, TV, and newspaper called it a baby.”

Beyond their double standards, reporters often misuse the term “fetus,” revealing that they are out of their depth. Per Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, a fetus is “the unborn offspring in the postembryonic period, after major structures have been outlined, in humans from nine weeks after fertilization until birth.” Simply put, the word “fetus” applies from nine weeks after fertilization until birth. Yet, numerous major news organizations have misapplied this term to both before and after this period.

Late-Term Abortions Are Not Rare

According to CNN, “Doctors say abortions performed later in pregnancy are exceptionally rare.” In truth, late-term abortions are far more common than deaths that the media portrays as frequent occurrences like firearm homicides, young adult Covid-19 fatalities, and murders committed by police officers.

2013 paper in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health estimates that “more than 15,000” abortions are performed each year in the U.S. “at 21 weeks or later.” The authors note that this amounts to about 1% of all abortions, “but given an estimated 1.21 million abortions in the United States annually,” “later abortions” add up to “a substantial number of abortions.”

Hence, these “exceptionally rare” late-term abortions are more numerous than the:

  • 12,000 murders per year committed with guns.
  • 6,000 Covid-19-related deaths of people under the age of 45.
  • 50 people per year who are executed under the death penalty
  • police officers per year who are arrested for murder or manslaughter in an on-duty shooting, and the 1–2 officers who are ultimately convicted of such crimes.

 

Most Late-Term Abortions Are Not for Medical Reasons

CNN claims that “abortions performed later in pregnancy” are “often” because “of a fetal condition that can’t be treated or in cases of maternal health endangerment.” This is a common talking point of abortion proponents, but the disclosures of abortion providers reveal just the opposite:

  • Martin Haskell, who is credited with inventing the partial-birth abortion procedure stated, “I’ll be quite frank: most of my abortions are elective in that 20-24 week range…. In my particular case, probably 20% are for genetic reasons. And the other 80% are purely elective.” 
  • Renee Chelian, president of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, said of late-term abortions, “The spin out of Washington was that it was only done for medical necessity, even though we knew it wasn’t so.”
  • Doctors at two New Jersey abortion clinics independently revealed that each of their clinics was performing roughly 3,000 late-term abortions per year and nearly all of them were elective and not for medical reasons.
  • Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, stated that late-term abortion are “primarily done on healthy women and healthy fetuses.”

The statements above are corroborated by a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute—a research organization whose “Guiding Principles” include support for legalized abortion. As summarized by the New York Times, the study found that “only 2 percent of abortions done after 16 weeks of pregnancy are done because of fetal abnormalities,” and such abortions are “most often performed to end healthy pregnancies because the woman arrived relatively late to her decision to abort.”

Biden and Harris Support Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Up Till Birth

According to CNN, Pence’s statement about Biden and Harris is “partially misleading and partially false” because “a Biden campaign official told CNN that Biden supports Roe v. Wade—the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, as amended by Planned Parenthood v. Casey.”

However, the plain words of those court decisions prove that Pence’s statement is entirely accurate. This is because these rulings prohibit states from banning abortions at any stage of pregnancy if any abortionist claims it is for “the health of the mother.”

Importantly, Roe defines threats to a mother’s health so broadly that they can include practically anything. Some eye-opening examples of what Roe deems to be hazardous to “health” are the work of “child care,” the “stigma of unwed motherhood,” and “the distress” of parenting “an unwanted child.”

In Casey, the Supreme Court ruled that “Roe’s essential holding be retained and reaffirmed,” including “a confirmation of the State’s power to restrict abortions after viability, if the law contains exceptions for pregnancies endangering a woman’s life or health.”

Furthermore, Roe places all decisions about what constitutes “health” into the hands of abortionists. It does this by mandating that Roe“be read together” with Doe v. Bolton, a companion case that the Supreme Court issued on the same day. In Doe, the Court ruled that all abortion providers have full authority to decide if an abortion is necessary to protect a woman’s “health” based solely on their “best clinical judgment.”

Many states have passed laws that defy Roe and Casey, and Biden and Harris say that they will overturn all of them through a federal law that codifies Roe. They also support “repealing the Hyde Amendment,” which has restricted taxpayer funding of abortion for more than 40 years except in cases of rape, incest, and if the life of the mother is endangered.

CNN also alleges without evidence that “no candidate in either political party supports abortion ‘up to the moment of birth’,” but the fact is that Democrats blocked a bill in 2019 that would have required healthcare providers to “preserve the life and health” of children who are aborted and born alive. Harris was among the 42 Democrats who filibustered this bill in the Senate.

Summary

During the vice presidential debate, Mike Pence accurately and straightforwardly described the positions of Kamala Harris and Joe Biden on late-term abortions, noting that they support such abortions up to birth and want them funded by taxpayers.

Yet, CNN deceitfully claimed his statement is misleading in an article that it titled “Pence Echoes Trump’s False Claims at Vice Presidential Debate.” Furthermore, CNN laced its “fact check” with other canards that hide the harsh realities of late-term abortion and the fact that they are performed more than 10,000 times per year on healthy, conscious humans with healthy mothers.

James D. Agresti is the president of Just Facts, a think tank dedicated to publishing rigorously documented facts about public policy issues.

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