Women’s Health Experts “Noticeably Absent” From News Commentary On Texas Anti-Abortion Legislation
11:15 am, July 11th | by Grace Rasmus
Cable news stations have been incessantly covering Texas’ proposed abortion restrictions and subsequent protests for weeks now and have brought a number of commentators to shed light on the issue; however, a really important group — probably THE most important group— is “noticeably absent” from those invited to speak on-air, according to a new analysis from Media Matters. Of the 92 people invited to speak on-air, only four commentators have been women’s health experts. Cable news shows have instead opted to feature political pundits who aren’t actually physicians or reproductive health experts. Fox News hosted no women’s health experts, while CNN and MSNBC hosted two and three, respectively.
It’s not as if women’s health experts don’t want to voice their opinions on the matter — they do. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which represents thousands of OB-GYNs, recently put out a statement opposing (yes, opposing) Texas’ proposed restrictions:
“The Texas bills set a dangerous precedent of a legislature telling doctors how to practice medicine and how to care for individual patients,” said ACOG Executive Vice President Hal C. Lawrence, III, MD. “ACOG opposes legislative interference, and strongly believes that decisions about medical care must be based on scientific evidence and made by licensed medical professionals, not the state or federal government.”
This is definitely not the first time the media has underrepresented the demographics best suited to talk about reproductive health issues. As Think Progress pointed out, last year during debates over Obamacare’s contraceptive coverage, cable news shows repeatedly called on men, instead of women, to speak about birth control by a nearly 2:1 margin. In general, the gender and ethnic diversity on most cable news networks has actually been declining over the past several years.