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Two groups, including Republican senators, voted against IVF this week. Fox buried the news.

Fox News has consistently undercovered Republican efforts to curtail reproductive rights

On June 12, Southern Baptists passed a resolution condemning many routine practices associated with in vitro fertilization, including the creation and storage of “surplus” embryos, citing the “destruction of embryonic human life.” On June 13, Republican senators voted against a bill that would have protected access to IVF. Both votes could have significant political ramifications, so naturally Fox News almost completely ignored them. The network ran only one segment discussing the Southern Baptist vote and notably did not discuss Senate Republicans’ move to strike down the IVF bill at all.

  • At the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting, delegates for the first time waded into the debate surrounding IVF, affirming “that embryos are human beings from the moment of fertilization.” Although the resolution does not call for banning the procedure outright, some have argued that the organization's opposition amounts to “condemning the I.V.F. process as commonly practiced.” NBC News noted that the “measure was approved amid deep concerns that IVF is under increasing threat from the anti-abortion movement."

    Fox spent a whopping two minutes discussing the Southern Baptist vote, with America's Newsroom anchor Dana Perino asking Kellyanne Conway about it in a segment devoted to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the abortion pill Mifepristone. Conway forcefully declared that not only is former President Donald Trump in favor of IVF but so is “every single Republican senator running for election this year.” She added, “This is one of those issues that I say has tri-partisan support. The majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats — apolitically speaking — support access to IVF."

  • Video file

    Citation From the June 13, 2024, edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom

  • Fox thought the line was so compelling they re-aired Conway’s statement during a different show; however, the network went silent when just an hour or so later, Senate Republicans proved Conway wrong and voted against a bill that would have protected access to IVF nationwide. Fox News has not discussed the Senate vote a single time since Republicans struck the bill down.

    This is just the latest example of Fox covering up Republicans’ plans and efforts to curtail reproductive rights. As Media Matters previously reported, Fox has frequently offered less coverage of stories pertaining to reproductive rights than their mainstream news competitors: 

    • Earlier this month, Fox News devoted only 3 minutes to Senate Republicans blocking the Right to Contraception Act, compared to 17 minutes on CNN and 58 minutes on MSNBC.

    • Following Louisiana’s passage of legislation classifying the two most popular abortion pills as dangerous controlled substances in May, Fox did not air a single segment on the legislation. By contrast, CNN and MSNBC aired a combined 1 hour and 33 minutes of coverage of the legislation over the same six-day stretch.

    • In May, during the first full day of Florida’s implementation of a six-week abortion ban, Fox spent less than 1 minute covering the restrictive new policy. 

    • Fox did not cover Trump’s medication abortion position in the weeks following his April interview with Time. CNN mentioned it twice, while MSNBC provided 7 minutes of coverage over 7 broadcasts.

    • In April, when an Arizona court revived a 160-year-old state law banning abortions under almost all circumstances, Fox covered the ruling for just 12 minutes that day, compared to 2 hours of airtime from CNN and 2 hours and 20 minutes of coverage on MSNBC.

    • In March, Fox covered the Supreme Court case that could affect access to abortion drug mifepristone nationwide for only 20 minutes in a 24-hour period while CNN spent over 1 hour on coverage and MSNBC devoted almost 4 hours to covering the case.

    • In February, Fox devoted less than 6 minutes of coverage over six days to an Alabama court ruling that frozen embryos are legally equivalent to children, even as state in vitro fertilization clinics stopped treatments in response.

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for the term “block” or any variation of the term “vote” within close proximity of any of the terms “Republican,” “Senate,” “Baptist,” “convention,” or “faith” and also within close proximity of any of the terms “IVF,” “in vitro,” or “embryo” or any variation of any of the terms “fertility,” “reproductive,” or “contraceptive” from June 12, 2024, when the U.S. Southern Baptist Convention voted to condemn the practice of storing surplus embryos for in vitro fertilization, to 3 p.m. ET June 14, 2024.

    We timed segments, which we defined as instances when the U.S. Southern Baptist Convention's vote to condemn the practice of storing surplus embryos for IVF or the U.S. Senate Republicans' vote blocking an IVF-access bill was the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of either vote. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed either vote with one another.

    We also timed mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker in a segment on another topic mentioned either vote without another speaker in the segment engaging with the comment, and teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host promoted a segment about either vote scheduled to air later in the broadcast.

    We rounded all times to the nearest minute.