I want to talk for a minute about fairness, "objectivity" & both sides-ism in journalism.

Yesterday I got a voicemail from a reader who criticized this story as "one-sided" for not including anti-abortion perspectives. I strongly disagree, & here's why.
In her message, the reader suggested the story should have included pregnancy care centers (aka pregnancy crisis centers), people who think Planned Parenthood is "murdering babies," adoption for unintended pregnancies, and an upcoming prayer gathering for unborn children.
This story was about how Texas' ban on most abortions is affecting reproductive health care across the state, including patients who want to end their pregnancies, abortion providers, OBGYNs and researchers who study the effects of restrictive abortion policies.
What it was not about was the ideological debate over abortion, an argument that has been hashed and rehashed many, many times in the decades since Roe v. Wade.

People have many opinions about abortion, but many of them are not relevant to this avenue of reporting.
This kind of criticism about one-sidedness is frequently leveled at reporting on abortion, because it is an issue that has been deeply politicized, just as COVID & gun violence has been.

But all three of those issues are also matters of public health and medicine.
As a health reporter, my job is to rely on facts that are grounded in science and research in order to write about issues affecting people's health and our medical system. Not opinions.
And the fact is that abortion is considered an essential component of reproductive health care by both the American College of Gynecologists & Obstetricians and the World Health Organization. Like pregnancy, it is a medical issue. It has also long been a constitutional right.
It's a fact that carrying a pregnancy to term — particularly in a country like the U.S. where maternal mortality & complication rates are high — carries more health risks than first-trimester abortions.
It's also a fact that SB 8 is demonstrably harming Texans by limiting their access to medical care, which has both short and long-term implications for their health. That's what the research says, and that's what my reporting shows.
Think of it this way: When I report on COVID's impact on the medical system, I don't shoehorn in quotes from people who think COVID is a hoax or that the vaccines are a cover for government tracking devices — unless that's *specifically* what the story is about.
Including anti-abortion folks in this story would not have made it more fair or objective. It would have simply checked a box for including "both sides."

But there isn't another side to the health impact of this law. It is what it is.
As for the the caller's other suggestions...

1) Pregnancy crisis centers are notorious for providing misinformation to pregnant women and obscuring the fact that they are not actually medical providers: journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/why-cr…
2) Planned Parenthood is objectively not committing murder, as legally defined.
3) The idea that people with unwanted pregnancies should seek out adoption is an opinion. No one can compel them to do that.
4) People hold all kinds of religious & ethical beliefs, but that doesn't mean they're relevant.
The idea of when life begins is not clear-cut. But at 6 weeks, it is medically an embryo, not a fetus or a baby. There is no "heartbeat," just cardiac activity.
People can disagree with the moral implications of abortion or not care about the people who are negatively impacted by SB 8. That's their prerogative.

But that doesn't change the facts or the science, nor does it make the reporting biased, unfair or inaccurate.
My responsibility is to telling the truth and documenting what's happening because of this law. That's what I'll keep doing.

I know this was a long thread, so thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

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More from @LaurenCaruba

3 Aug 20
As this article makes clear, the American response to the coronavirus has been an abject failure.

San Antonio’s surge this summer — tens of thousands of cases, thousands of hospitalizations, hundreds of deaths — is a direct result of this.
Over the past few months, as SA’s surge spiraled out of control, local officials pleaded with residents to distance, to wear masks. Devoid of an overarching state & federal response, they asked the public to individually respond to a collective problem. Of course it didn’t work.
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Wow, from reading this thread you’d think San Antonio was inflating its COVID case counts. That would be a big deal!

Here’s what’s actually happening.
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There have been huge backlogs with reporting results from PCR tests. The benefit with antigen tests is they provide rapid results.

The issue with them is false negatives. They have a higher likelihood of missing infections that are actually there.
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2 Mar 20
HAPPENING NOW: Joint press conference between city of San Antonio and Bexar County on mistaken release of a positive Wuhan evacuee this weekend.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg: "We simply cannot have a screw up like this from our federal partners."
Nirenberg and County Judge Nelson Wolff say they do not believe the Diamond Princess evacuees who have not yet been isolated w/ positive tests or symptoms should not be released today, as scheduled.

They said they've requested another round of testing be done for those evacuees
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2 Mar 20
Major coronavirus development from @saddamscribe: A Wuhan evacuee who was positive for the virus was released from isolation in San Antonio after two negative test results.

But when a 3rd test came back positive, she was put back in quarantine. expressnews.com/news/local/art…
Understandably, people are going to panic over this news.

But it's worth noting that we do not yet know whether this person being "weakly" positive for the virus means she was still actively contagious. There's still much unknown about the virus.
Last week, a CDC official said the agency was studying reports of tests for those infected with coronavirus alternating between negative & positive results. The criteria for release was two negative tests in a row, but in this case a subsequent third test came up with the virus.
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