Tax-funded abortion coverage: Who’s being warned?

The Associated Press’ Philip Elliott, writing about the massive health care overhaul that is lagging in support as it becomes clear that it is massively expensive as well  as devious in its intentions, mischaracterizes a statement by New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg on the effect of abortion services in the legislation:

Republicans paint Obama’s proposals as a massive tax that would leave small businesses wounded, employers shifting away from private plans toward a government-based system, and workers without coverage. Some GOP members have also cautioned that the legislation could fund abortions, a fear crucial to the social conservatives who hold sway inside the Republican Party and a proposition Orszag would not rule out.

A key Republican, however, warned his party not to scuttle health care legislation over abortion.

“No matter what your views are on abortion, you shouldn’t ask people to use their tax dollars if they think that abortion is taking a life,” said Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. “I would hate to see the health care debate go down over that issue. … Hopefully we won’t get ourselves wrapped around the wheel of abortion in this debate.”

Is Gregg really warning Republicans when he says “you shouldn’t ask people to use their tax dollars if they think that abortion is taking a life”? I would say that it is a warning to Democrats not to attach what is most definitely a poison pill to what is already a bloated bill. The fact that Elliott makes this quote a warning to Republicans is yet another case of either shoddy writing by the AP or an attempt to create confusion. I would say the case is the latter since it’s not just “some GOP members” who are saying that the legislation could fund abortions. This is an actual amendment that was voted on and attached to the legislation.

Perhaps this story will be edited at some point to clear up that portion, at least. Until then, the Associated Press seems content to throw out a story that misleads on a serious matter. Once again, it’s a bad job by the AP.

Update: The AP is the one playing politics on stem cell research

So, yesterday I posted about a story from two Associated Press reporters, Ben Feller and Lauran Neergaard, who couldn’t find anyone to quote about their objections to President Obama reversing Bush policy to restrict funding for embryonic stem cell research. What did they do? Find a scientist to better frame the debate? Nah.

Instead, they updated their story with a quote from Tony Perkins at the Family Research Council. Oh, wait, that’s the conservative Family Research Council:

“Taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for experiments that require the destruction of human life,” said Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council. “President Obama’s policy change is especially troubling given the significant adult stem cell advances that are being used to treat patients now without harming or destroying human embryos.”

After a cursory summary of the potential of adult stem cell research over the last eight years the article veers back to the left and states that scientists, not politics should judge. OK, who just inserted politics into this story? Anyone? Yes, that would be reporters Ben Feller and Lauran Neergaard (and, most likely, the anonymous editors) of the not-conservative Associated Press.

Now, to be fair, that quotation from Perkins might have been in the original story but was cut by an editor. But I’m going to say this anyway. Listen closely , AP: There are plenty of scientists (not politians or activists) who I’m sure would like to talk about their research with adult stem cells and give you balanced feedback about this. If you want to do your politics story and talk to people like Tony Perkins — who does have a point — then do it in another story with activists who are pro-embryonic stem cell research. And, if you really did talk and quote adult stem cell research scientists and then cut it, then shame on you.

But to frame this as a science-vs.-politics story is completely manipulative on your part. Again, your story (even updated) is still cheerleading.

Despite what we see, AP assures us that Obama is a uniter, not a divider

Even though Barack Obama has confidently asserted that he doesn’t care what millions of people believe is morally wrong, the Associated Press wants us to know that he has done better than former President Bush:

Barack Obama opened his presidency by breaking sharply from George W. Bush’s unpopular administration, but he mostly avoided divisive partisan and ideological stands. He focused instead on fixing the economy, repairing a battered world image and cleaning up government.

“What an opportunity we have to change this country,” the Democrat told his senior staff after his inauguration. “The American people are really counting on us now. Let’s make sure we take advantage of it.”

And he has changed it, as evidenced by his executive order to overturn the ban on using taxpayer funds for international organizations that promote abortions or give information about them, the so-called Mexico City Policy. The AP noted that Obama went this direction, but downplays its significance:

In the highly scripted first days of his administration, Obama overturned a slew of Bush policies with great fanfare. He largely avoided cultural issues; the exception was reversing one abortion-related policy, a predictable move done in a very low-profile way.

The rest of the article, by Democratic cheerleader Liz Sidoti, goes on to explain that Obama’s decisions have muted most criticism because they were long-expected. You see, he’s popular so we really shouldn’t worry about anything he does.

Sidoti’s breathless prose, which seems suited for an analysis piece or a column, goes on to include this gushing passage:

A picture of poise, Obama didn’t get rattled when Chief Justice John Roberts flubbed the oath of office, an exercise repeated a day later to ensure constitutionality. He breezed through his speech – which repudiated Bush’s tenure though never personally attacked him – without a misstep. Even with the weight of the country’s troubles now on his shoulders, he was relaxed as he twirled his wife, Michelle, at celebratory balls.

“I don’t sweat,” Obama said on the eve of his inauguration – a comment meant literally, and, perhaps, figuratively.

People who disagree with the president will have a hard road to hoe over the next four years. The idea that this president can do little or no wrong, perpetuated by the people who have gone from being attack dogs over the last eight years to lapdogs, will make dissent harder.

Is it offbeat that God answers prayer?

\"Strange News?\"In a completely unsurprising story from the Associated Press, two New Zealand men were in a plane that was about to go down due to a lack of fuel. What they did next was what many people, Christian or not, would have done: They prayed. And, not only did God hear their prayers, he caused them to land their plane next to a billboard that said “Jesus is Lord — The Bible.” Here is part of the story:

Grant Stubbs and Owen Wilson, both from the town of Blenheim on the country’s South Island, were flying up the sloping valley of Pelorus Sound when the engine spluttered, coughed and died.


“My friend and I are both Christians so our immediate reaction in a life-threatening situation was to ask for God’s help,” Stubbs told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Now, I say this is unsurprising because I know that God can — and does — answer prayer. I think God has a sense of humor in that he caused their plane to land near the sign so it could be “more newsworthy” (to the Associated Press, that is). After all, is it that remarkable that God answers prayers, often dramatically, every day? It shouldn’t be. After all, he says just as much in “The Bible.” Sidenote: I am irritated at these billboards that make broad statements and then attribute them to “The Bible” or “God,” meaning you cannot refute them. You can make many true-sounding statements that are not necessarily biblical this way e.g. — “You can’t beat your kids. — God”

So, this story about God answering a prayer in an amazing fashion now catches the eye of the Associated Press and ends up on its Web site under “AP Top Strange News.” This is the kind of world we live in, sadly. And, perhaps even sadder, I believe there are many Christians who think it strange that God actively works in our lives each minute so that they live their lives as if God is only there as some kind of cosmic 911 operator. Although I can’t be totally sure, the statement above by one of the men has that kind of ring to it.

Here’s the thing: Did the men think to pray to God before the trip or maybe before they realized their plane was in danger? I have a good friend who works as a missionary pilot. He flies in places that many people would say are extremely dangerous and is a great praying man. He e-mails updates before his trips and then sends out updates afterwards about how God answered those prayers. Most are uneventful, but there are several where you see how God answers prayers in a way different than was prayed, but it turned out that it was the best  way possible. And my friend acknowledges that in his updates.

These kind of stories (the one about the men in New Zealand) make big splashes and will get many people excited about Christianity and God. But the truth is that God is working day in and day out doing things that may seem mundane but are just as mighty. Jesus, who we worship as Lord, upholds the universe by his mighty hand:


Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Hebrews 1:1-4