Nets Warn SCOTUS Case ‘Striking Fear Among Abortion Advocates’

0
The network morning shows spent Tuesday morning sounding the alarm about “one of the most conservative lineups of justices in decades” on the Supreme Court preparing to hear a major abortion case. Two of the broadcasts even began their coverage by announcing a “Supreme Court Showdown,” as if they were promoting a boxing match rather than reporting on a sober legal topic with life and death implications.

“Supreme Court Showdown. Reaction pours in after the nation’s highest court agrees to hear a major challenge to abortion rights,” co-host Hoda Kotb proclaimed at the top of NBC’s Today show. She warned: “Some saying it could mark the beginning of a new phase for the now conservative-leaning court.”

 

 

Introducing the report minutes later, fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie hyped “the battle over abortion rights front and center again.” Justice correspondent Pete Williams was eager to throw around ideological labels while describing the makeup of the high court: “This case from Mississippi is a direct challenge to those rulings and it comes before one of the most conservative lineups of justices in decades.”

He explained the details of the case: “The court will decide whether Mississippi violated the Constitution when it passed a law in 2018 to ban nearly all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy, saying that advancements in medical knowledge have shifted the time when a fetus can feel pain.” A soundbite was included of pro-life Susan B. Anthony List vice president of communications Mallory Quigley reacting to the news: “What we’re hoping to see is that with the case, the court will take the handcuffs off of the states and allow them to pass laws that reflect the values of the people that live there.”

Moments later, he teed up a pro-abortion activist by fretting: “Supporters of abortion rights say it’s an ominous sign.” Center for Reproductive Rights president and CEO Nancy Northup worried: “There’s no way that the Supreme Court can uphold the restriction on abortion that Mississippi has in place without reversing Roe vs. Wade.”

Williams wrung his hands over the newest additions to the court:

Two of the justices who consistently voted to uphold core abortion rights are gone, Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, replaced by two appointees of President Trump, who said during his campaign that his court nominees would oppose abortion rights….Abortion opponents are hoping Amy Coney Barrett, who succeeded Justice Ginsburg, will give them the majority they need to uphold the Mississippi law.

ABC’s Good Morning America used the exact same rhetoric as NBC to launch its coverage of the story, with co-host Michael Strahan telling viewers: “Supreme Court Showdown. The justices set to hear the most important abortion case in decades, the first one for the court’s new conservative majority and what it could mean for the future of Roe vs. Wade.”

Just in case anyone didn’t catch that top-of-the-show tease, Strahan introduced the report by emphasizing: “The new conservative majority set to hear a major case on abortion rights that is a direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade.” Correspondent Terry Moran kept up the hype: “This is a big one, it’s the most important challenge to abortion rights at this court in decades.”

The reporter expressed concern in the outcome given who was on the court: “President Trump transformed this court, shifting it rightward, naming three staunch conservatives, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Before she joined the court, Justice Barrett was a vocal opponent of abortion rights.”

On CBS This Morning, correspondent Jan Crawford confessed: “I mean, already, this case is striking fear among abortion advocates and raising hope among abortion opponents.” The political labels flew as she outlined the case:

At issue, 2018 Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It’s similar to bans recently passed in other conservative-leaning states, all with an eye on getting the newly conservative Supreme Court to reconsider Roe….Conservatives have what could be the most solid majority in modern history, with three justices appointed by President Trump. Two of them, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, replaced justices who had refused to overturn Roe….this is a different case and a much more conservative court.

The goal of reporting like this is to undermine potential court rulings that the liberal media don’t like by suggesting that any decision reached by the Supreme Court must be politically motivated. Notice that the term “liberal” was never uttered once to describe Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

NBC’s alarm over the impending SCOTUS case was brought to viewers by Dunkin’ Donuts, it was brought to ABC viewers by Lincoln, and to CBS viewers by Allstate. You can fight back by letting these advertisers know what you think of them sponsoring such content.

Here is a full transcript of the May 18 report on NBC’s Today show:

7:14 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Also this morning, the battle over abortion rights front and center again, Craig’s here with more on that. Good morning.

CRAIG MELVIN: Hey, Savannah, Hoda, good morning, good morning to you as well. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up a potentially groundbreaking case which could result in the most important ruling on the issue since Roe v. Wade. NBC’s justice correspondent Pete Williams joins us from the high court this morning. Pete, good morning.

PETE WILLIAMS: Craig, good morning to you. For nearly 50 years, the Supreme Court has said that states cannot ban abortions before a fetus becomes viable. This case from Mississippi is a direct challenge to those rulings and it comes before one of the most conservative lineups of justices in decades.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Supreme Court to Take Up Major Abortion Case]

The court will decide whether Mississippi violated the Constitution when it passed a law in 2018 to ban nearly all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy, saying that advancements in medical knowledge have shifted the time when a fetus can feel pain.

MALLORY QUIGLEY [SUSAN B. ANTHONY LIST VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS]: What we’re hoping to see is that with the case, the court will take the handcuffs off of the states and allow them to pass laws that reflect the values of the people that live there.

WILLIAMS: Lower courts struck the law down saying it ran counter to a string of the Supreme Court’s abortion rights rulings since 1973 that said states cannot flat-out ban abortion before fetal viability, around 23 weeks of pregnancy. But now the Supreme Court says it will take another look at that very issue, agreeing to hear Mississippi’s appeal. Supporters of abortion rights say it’s an ominous sign.

NANCY NORTHUP [CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS PRESIDENT AND CEO]: There’s no way that the Supreme Court can uphold the restriction on abortion that Mississippi has in place without reversing Roe vs. Wade.

WILLIAMS: Two of the justices who consistently voted to uphold core abortion rights are gone, Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, replaced by two appointees of President Trump, who said during his campaign that his court nominees would oppose abortion rights.

DONALD TRUMP [OCTOBER 2016]: I am pro-life and will be appointing pro-life judges.

WILLIAMS: Abortion opponents are hoping Amy Coney Barrett, who succeeded Justice Ginsburg, will give them the majority they need to uphold the Mississippi law. The Court will hear this case in the fall during its next term, with the decision probably about a year from now. The Mississippi law, meantime, remains blocked and cannot be enforced, Craig.

MELVIN: Alright, justice correspondent Pete Williams there from the high court. Pete, thanks.

Here is a full transcript of report on ABC’s GMA:

7:16 AM ET

MICHAEL STRAHAN: Now to the Supreme Court. The new conservative majority set to hear a major case on abortion rights that is a direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade. Terry Moran, who follows the court for us, has the very latest this morning. Good morning, Terry.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Major Abortion Rights Case Heads to Supreme Court; Justices to Hear Challenge to Roe v. Wade]

TERRY MORAN: Good morning, Michael. This is a big one, it’s the most important challenge to abortion rights at this court in decades. And that’s because this case takes direct aim at one of the central issues in Roe vs. Wade. Can states ban abortions before a fetus is able to survive outside the mother’s womb? Before it’s “viable,” in the language of the law. Mississippi passed a law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, that’s well before viability. And in the past, the justices have struck down similar laws, but those were different justices.

President Trump transformed this court, shifting it rightward, naming three staunch conservatives, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Before she joined the court, Justice Barrett was a vocal opponent of abortion rights.

Polls show Americans feel differently, our most recent poll on the subject found that 62% of Americans want the Supreme Court to uphold Roe vs. Wade, just 24% favor overturning it. And a recent pew poll found that 59% of Americans believe abortions should be legal in most or all cases. This case will come before the Court in the fall. A decision expected next year, right in the middle of the midterm elections. Robin?

ROBIN ROBERTS: A lot of eyes on this. Alright, Terry, thank you.

Here is a full transcript of the report on CBS This Morning:

7:13 AM ET

VLAD DUTHIERS: A very significant abortion case is headed to the Supreme Court. The justices said yesterday they will decide if a new law in Mississippi is constitutional. It would impose the strictest state limits on abortion since the Roe vs. Wade decision 48 years ago. Jan Crawford is at the Supreme Court. So, Jan, when will the justices decide?

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, the Court won’t hear arguments in this case until the next term, which starts in October, so we probably won’t get a decision until next summer. But Vlad, I mean, already, this case is striking fear among abortion advocates and raising hope among abortion opponents.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Landmark Abortion Case; SCOTUS to Hear Case That Could Shape Future of Abortion Rights]

At issue, 2018 Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It’s similar to bans recently passed in other conservative-leaning states, all with an eye on getting the newly conservative Supreme Court to reconsider Roe.

FORMER MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR PHIL BRYANT: And we’ll probably get sued here in about half an hour. That’ll be fine with me.

CRAWFORD: Lower courts have struck down the bans as unconstitutional under existing Supreme Court decisions, which prohibit most restrictions until after the second trimester, about six months, when the fetus can live outside the womb.

DONALD TRUMP: And I will be appointing pro-life judges.

CRAWFORD: Conservatives have what could be the most solid majority in modern history, with three justices appointed by President Trump. Two of them, Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, replaced justices who had refused to overturn Roe. During their confirmation hearings, both said they would follow the Constitution.

AMY CONEY BARRETT: I do see as distinct my personal, moral, religious views and my task of applying the law as a judge.

CRAWFORD:  But according to the National Constitution Centers’s Jeffrey Rosen, even the decision to review the Mississippi case indicates this new court could see the issue differently.

JEFFREY ROSEN [NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER CEO]: It takes at least four justices to agree to hear a case. And this decision suggests that because of the composition of the Court has changed, its view toward Roe may have changed as well.  

CRAWFORD: Now, last June, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that could have left the state with only one abortion clinic. Chief Justice John Roberts, who’s a conservative, joined the Court’s liberals. But this is a different case and a much more conservative court. Anthony?

ANTHONY MASON: Alright, Jan, thank you very much.

Loading...