Media Distorts the Story of the Burning of an Aborted Baby

Mainstream media focus their attention not on the horrific act but on how the police obtained incriminating Facebook messages.

The story: A Nebraska mother helped her 17-year-old teenage daughter abort, burn, and bury her unborn child at 23 weeks, despite Nebraska’s 2010 law prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks. The mother and her daughter are now facing criminal charges after police obtained Facebook messages via a legal warrant.

The media is framing the story around Facebook and abortion rights. According to Forbes and other outlets, “the case is one of the first instances of a person's Facebook activity being used to incriminate her in a state where abortion is restricted.” The media coverage attacks both Facebook and new abortion laws.

But the story is more than that. Babies at 23 weeks, or in month six of pregnancy, are almost fully formed and can survive outside the womb. Abortions at that stage result in live births around 50% of the time, meaning it’s likely the baby was born alive and had to be killed—hence the mother and daughter burning the baby.

Most Americans wouldn’t defend the mother and daughter: Americans are twice as likely to say abortions should be illegal when a healthy fetus could survive outside the mother's body. Considering this and the gruesome details of the case, the media’s attempt to make this story about abortion rights is highly out of touch.

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