Media cite anti-abortion activist and Obama critic Jill Stanek as though she's credibleAugust 21, 2008 9:55 PM EDT ››› MARK BOCHKIS, MATT GERTZ, CHRISTINE SCHWEN, & MORGAN WEILAND
Several media outlets have quoted or cited criticism of Sen. Barack Obama by anti-abortion activist and WorldNetDaily columnist Jill Stanek over Obama's opposition to certain bills amending the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 while he was in the Illinois state Senate -- without citing relevant facts that undermine her credibility. These facts include her suggestion that domestic violence is acceptable against women who have abortions, her support of billboards in Tanzania with the words "Faithful Condom User" next to a picture of a large skeleton, which aimed to discourage condom use there in favor of abstinence and "be[ing] faithful," and her citation of a report that "aborted fetuses are much sought after delicacies" in China to which she added, "I think this stuff is happening."
The New York Times, The Associated Press, Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, The New York Sun and The Hill have all quoted Stanek or referred to her in news reports about Obama's opposition to the bills, which Obama said posed a threat to abortion rights and has said were unnecessary because Illinois law already prohibited the conduct being addressed. News reports variously identified Stanek as a nurse, as an anti-abortion activist, as a WorldNetDaily columnist, as someone who "spearheaded" the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, and as a nurse who testified before the Illinois state Senate's Health and Human Services Committee chaired by Obama "after witnessing a live infant discarded and left to die at the hospital where she worked." But in none of these cases did they cite any of the following:
- In a March 31 post to her website, titled "Faithful Condom Users Die," Stanek urged her readers to fund Human Life International's (HLI) efforts to post billboards in Tanzania with the words "Faithful Condom Users" next to a picture of a large skeleton, stating, "HLI needs donations to keep the billboards up. Donate here." HLI describes itself as a "pro-life, pro-family, pro-woman organization" that claims as its mission to "fight the evils of abortion, contraception, sex education and family breakdown."
- In an March 1, 2007, WorldNetDaily column, during a discussion of a scene in the film The Godfather: Part II in which Al Pacino's character hits his wife after she told him she aborted their child, Stanek wrote: "That spontaneous slap was the reaction of a real man who a woman had just told she aborted his baby. Compare that to the modern day cowardly male response, 'It's your choice. Whatever you decide, I'll support you.' "
- In an April 9, 2007, posts to her website and the Illinois Review blog, Stanek wrote: "The following, if true, is what abortion and the dehumanization of preborn babies has wrought. It is the most despicable outcome of abortion I have ever seen or reported. Yet, if one is 'pro-choice' and denies that preborn humans are human, there is nothing wrong with this whatsoever. It can't even be considered cannibalism." She then cited a March 29, 2007, Epoch Times article, which reported: "The Next Magazine, a weekly publication from Hong Kong, reported that infant corpses and fetuses have become the newest supplements for health and beauty in China. Not only is the placenta considered a beauty remedy, but also aborted fetuses are much sought after delicacies. In Guangdong, gourmet body parts are in high demand and can even be purchased through hospitals..." After a reader questioned the truth of the claims, Stanek wrote: "[A]ccording to Wikipedia, The Epoch Times is an anti-Chinese-government newspaper. Wikipedia compares The Next Magazine, from whence Epoch got its information, to a sensationalist type paper. That said, Wikipedia is accessible by all to skew, including the Chinese government. And there are good sensationalist news organizations, like Drudge (and even the Enquirer these days), and bad sensationalist rags that boast alien abductions on their front page. But I've read legitimate news stories of the Chinese doing strange things with embryos. So I think this stuff is happening. And that last photo in particular looks real" [emphasis added].
- In a June 30, 2007, post to her website about the National Education Association's "inexplicable support of abortion," Stanek wrote: "Teachers certainly see abused kids, hungry kids, neglected kids, poor kids. So the NEA's logic is to help kill these problem kids before they're born? That's the same logic of many pro-aborts, both self-serving and lazy."
- In her November 7, 2007, WorldNetDaily column, Stanek wrote that Barbara Bush, wife of former President George H.W. Bush, was "a pro-abort," adding that her "platform as first lady was illiteracy, so she obviously thought abortion was a solution to illiteracy. In actuality, then, she was a eugenicist, because it is poor people who are illiterate, not rich people."
- In a February 6, 2007, Illinois Review post called "Debbie Does...??" Stanek noted that Illinois state Senate majority leader Debbie Halvorson had disclosed her human papillomavirus (HPV) status, stated that "you would think she'd focus on her behavior that caused her to contract that sexually transmitted disease" [underline in original], then criticized Halvorson for not disclosing the "number of sex partners she has had," "whether it was her husband who passed HPV on to her after sleeping with other women," or "if Halvorson contracted HPV through rape, [in which case] she could discuss ways to avoid rape."
- In a February 20, 2007, Illinois Review post discussing Illinois state Rep. John Fritchey's introduction of a bill that would allow a judicial exception to the state's law requiring parental notification before a minor obtains an abortion, Stanek wrote that Fritchey "is now working toward his Teen Genocide Promotion award."
Blogger Larry Handlin noted several of Stanek's controversial statements on Archpundit.com.
Stanek has also repeatedly made the false claim that Sen. Barack Obama "supports infanticide." Additionally, Hannity & Colmes and The New York Sun each referred to Stanek's allegations that babies that were born despite attempted abortions were abandoned without treatment in the Illinois hospital where she worked -- including in a soiled utility room -- without noting that the Illinois Department of Public Health reportedly said that the alleged conduct, if proved, would have constituted "violations of existing law" but that it could not substantiate the allegation.
From the August 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: The abortion issue continues to hamper Barack Obama months after Democratic rival Hillary Clinton challenged his support for Roe v. Wade. Now, according to the New York Sun, pro-life advocates are calling his abortion stance extremism. At issue is Senator Obama's vote against an Illinois law that would have protected infants born alive after a botched abortion procedure. Joining us now, syndicated columnist Ann Coulter, radio show talk show host -- he's nationally syndicated -- Dennis Prager; and former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell. Ann Coulter, I'll start with you. The Born Alive Infant Protection Acts. They induce these abortions. I --
HANNITY: I interviewed Jill Stanek. She's a nurse. Illinois.
HANNITY: Testified before Obama's committee. A baby with Down syndrome aborted, thrown in a soiled utility room. She cradles this baby that's breathing for 45 minutes, and Barack Obama was the only senator to speak out against a bill that would have protected babies in that situation. Is that the --
HANNITY: Is that infanticide?
COULTER: It's shocking.
HANNITY: It is.
COULTER: It's -- of course it's infanticide. Yeah, he's for a woman's right to choose through the fourth trimester. And even Barbara Boxer, whom until now was the most staunchly pro-abortion senator, even she spoke in favor of this bill. I mean, this is a child that is not bothering the woman anymore, is not going to make her depressed or affect her health. It's out of the woman's body. They tried to kill it, but somehow the baby made it out alive.
From the August 19 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: Andrea, here's the point. Jill Stanek, who I interviewed, testified before his committee these babies are born alive. She found one in a soiled utility room in the hospital, a Down syndrome baby that was aborted. She cradled and rocked this baby for 45 minutes. He was unfazed, she says, by the testimony when she gave it to him before his committee. How could -- this is so -- this is infanticide.