Hat tip to Shakesville for the title idea.
Apparently, Talk of the Nation canceled their planned guest for today, who was supposed to be Dr. Rachel Phelps, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Syracuse, NY. They supposedly canceled her because they could not get someone to come on the show and represent the position that all abortion is immoral.
I was disappointed to hear that today’s scheduled show with Dr. Rachel Phelps was canceled. I am a member of Medical Students for Choice. I have had the opportunity to hear her speak twice. She is a wonderful speaker. She presents evidence based information and reasonable discussion of ethics when it comes to the varied, nuanced issues for both providers and patients involving abortion.
If it is indeed true that the show was canceled because you could not find a doctor to go on and say abortion is immoral, may I politely ask why?
Abortion is a legal, overwhelmingly safe, very common medical procedure, one of the most common surgical procedures in the country. The vast majority of the country supports the right for women to choose to terminate a pregnancy. The Alan Guttmacher Institute estimates between 30 to 40% of all women of reproductive age will have a pregnancy termination in their lifetime. Unfortunately, very few of these women will talk about it to anyone other than their immediate support circle, due to the stigma. Part of that stigma is due to many media outlets not thinking that a story about abortion is complete without having someone pointing out that some people think that it is immoral.
Many NPR shows, including TOTN, are successful at providing nuanced discussion of controversial issues without resorting to having one guest that calls the other guest immoral, one who completely disagrees with their legal ability to even do what they do. For example, TOTN had a show on global warming just last week. I don’t think there were any global warming deniers on the panel. The show provides three avenues (blog, phone, email) for people to discuss or disagree with the guest. I saw global warming deniers in the comments. They got to air their views.
When you have on military experts or spokespeople, do you have a token pacifist on the panel saying war is wrong, or even someone who represents the 60%+ of us who think we shouldn’t be in Iraq? Just to remind everybody that some people think it’s immoral? Of course not. First of all, it would be insulting to your guest. Second of all, your guest should be able to provide an educated discussion of the topic of the show without being so unbalanced that you have to have someone on to tell them he or she is, essentially, a murderer. Which is a valid critique of the war, and of abortion, but it is a minority opinion and does not need to aired every time the topic comes up.
Of course some shows benefit from multiple guests, such as experts in an industry and experts from watch dog groups. But I hardly think it is necessary to cancel the show with Dr. Phelps because you couldn’t find someone to tell her that abortion should be criminalized.
Local School of Osteopathic Medicine
President, Student Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Vice-President, Medical Students for Choice
Vice-President, American Medical Women’s Association
Updated with the reply:
this program has not been cancelled but postponed to be aired at a later date yet to be determined.
Hmm, no grammar or spell check for their communications team.
Still wondering, why? Why did it need to be canceled? (Or not cancelled (sic) but postponed to be aired at a later date yet to be determined)?