NOW: Abortion Providers Under Siege

Anna Clark

NOW on PBS aired "Abortion Providers Under Siege," a show that asked if clinic violence is the new face of domestic terrorism. It inspired a boatload of viewer commentary--and pushback from those who don't support abortion.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that NOW on PBS has this week issued an astoundingly honest and thoughtful report on abortion access in the wake of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a doctor in Wichita, Kansas. After all, senior correspondent Maria Hinojosa and host David Brancaccio have again and again proved themselves to be among the best in the media for thoughtful social and political coverage.

On June 12, NOW aired "Abortion Providers Under Siege," a show anchored by Hinojosa that asked if clinic violence is the new face of domestic terrorism (see the video of the show here). It features commentary from Dr. LeRoy Carhat and Dr. Warren Hern, two doctors who provide late-term abortions, who speak about how they and their families live as "targets," requiring federal protection and, in Dr. Hern’s case, a clinic protected by four layers of bulletproof windows.

NOW’s coverage extends online to a "Gallery of Rage," which highlights "shocking images and calls to action from anti-abortion websites." As well, the NOW website features "Issue Clash: Late Abortions," an interactive segment that brings two activists into a debate: Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Cristina Page, an Rewire contributor. NOW also collected its previous coverage of abortion access, including an in interview with Aspen Baker of Exhale and an interview with Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for Choice, and Rewire contributor. 

But it is of course the core show that has inspired a boatload of viewer commentary–and pushback from people who don’t support abortion and believe the segment was too one-sided.

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The Women’s Media Center is asking the public to sign a letter to NOW in support of "Abortion Providers Under Siege" to counter any potentially chilling effect of the negative backlash.

 

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