The Post Bumbles ‘Partial Birth Abortion’ Story

Powerful media organizations on both coasts demonstrated their apparent unwillingness to pay heed to many women’s concerns.

The Washington Post bumbled references to “partial birth abortion” in a story about the progress of a bill outlawing the same.

The Post’s headline on March 26 for a story on a “partial birth abortion” bill in Congress reads “Late-Term Abortion Ban Nears House Floor.” The newspaper later describes “partial birth abortion” as a procedure, when in fact no such procedure exists.

“We really wouldn’t want a headline to take one side of the debate,” said Vince Rinehart, national copy desk chief at the Post. “We struggled with this one. The very term is one that gets bandied about by anti-abortion advocates.”

Late-term abortions occur after the point in the pregnancy when the fetus is deemed able to live outside the uterus. They are severely restricted already by most states. “Partial birth abortion” bills are so vaguely worded that they could, in fact, be interpreted to outlaw all abortions.

For more information:

Also see Women’s Enews, April 1, 2001:
“Confusion Surrounds ‘Partial Birth Abortion'”:

Fugitive Wins Oscar

In Los Angeles, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not want to be distasteful during wartime at this year’s awards show. The academy eliminated the red carpet runway for arriving celebrities and warned the stars to avoid too many jewels and frivolous dress. Then, apparently throwing their concerns about propriety to the wind, the academy gave the Oscar for best director to a fugitive convicted of having sex with a minor.

Roman Polanski, who is known for his films “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown,” and “Tess,” won the best director for “The Pianist,” a film about a survivor of the Holocaust, which powerfully depicts the horrors of bigotry and violence.

Twenty-five years ago, Polanski was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl. He was also charged with giving the girl champagne and pills beforehand. Polanski has maintained for years that act with the girl was consensual.

In 1978, Polanski was indicted on six counts, including child rape. He pleaded guilty to one count of having sex with a minor. During the trial, the judge made public remarks indicating that he intended to give the film director the maximum sentence of 20 years. Polanski fled the country just before the sentencing and has found refuge in Europe. The arrest warrant for him in this country still stands.

Polanski’s name inspired a sympathetic standing ovation from the celebrity audience when he was announced as the winner.

Other winners of the evening: Eminem, often criticized for misogynist lyrics, for best movie theme song.

— Adriene Sere and Alexandra Poolos.