Fox's Analysis Of The Supreme Court Order On Texas' Abortion Law Includes Gosnell, Omits Facts

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Fox News' report on the Supreme Court's recent order temporarily blocking a Texas law that imposed strict requirements on state abortion providers included references to the horrific crimes of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell, but left out the law's dangerous implications for women's health and access to reproductive care.

On October 14, the Supreme Court stopped implementation of the law, allowing over a dozen Texas abortion clinics to re-open. The law “caused all but eight of the state's abortion clinics to close,” according to The New York Times. The challenged restrictions require all abortion clinics in the state to meet the standards of “ambulatory surgical centers” and all doctors “performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.” The court order blocked the former requirement and partially blocked the latter.

The October 15 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom invoked Gosnell's crimes in its report on the Supreme Court order. Senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano admitted that “the practical effect of [the law] was to reduce the number of facilities in the state of Texas that could perform abortions,” but went on to characterize the Texas law as intended to protect women's health and prevent crimes like Gosnell's:

Left unsaid is the fact that the Texas law is medically unnecessary, according to medical experts, and severely limits women's access to health services within the state. The law forced more than half of the state's abortion providing clinics to close, leaving no facilities south or west of San Antonio, creating a health crisis that has left millions of women without access to basic health services.

The Texas District of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposed the initial draft of the Texas law because the restrictions had no “basis in public health or safety,” and noted, “No other outpatient procedure requires a physician to have active admitting privileges in a hospital within a specific distance.” Indeed, the new regulations do not apply to other clinics, like dentist offices, that perform outpatient procedures. Medical experts have made clear that ambulatory surgical center and hospital admitting privilege requirements are medically unnecessary and excessively burden doctors and women. 

In fact, the Texas law could make crimes like Gosnell's more likely, not less, by restricting women's access to legal reproductive care and limiting their options. Gosnell's horrific crimes bore no resemblance to safe and legal abortions. And his business model was actually to prey on low-income women who could not access legal abortions, which the Texas law restricts.

Fox News has made a habit of twisting the convicted murderer into an anti-choice poster boy, falsely portraying him as the monstrous face of abortion.