Matt C. Abbott
TIME belittles Catholic teaching; The New York Times belittles crisis pregnancy centers, dismisses abortion-breast cancer link
By Matt C. Abbott
October 19, 2010

Two related news items that will shock absolutely no one...

First, TIME Magazine strikes again.

In an Oct. 8 article titled "Is the Catholic Church's Argument Against IVF a Bit Holey?" — which can be read here — the magazine takes issue with Catholic teaching on the intrinsic immorality of in vitro fertilization.

I asked Human Life International for a response to the TIME article, and Brian Clowes, Ph.D., HLI's director of research, provided me with the following comments:

    The flagrant bias in this piece is unfortunately what we have come to expect from TIME Magazine and other mainstream publications when they broach the topic of the beginning of life and the teaching of the Catholic Church.

    The piece mentions correctly that Robert Edwards' innovation of in vitro fertilization (IVF) has 'open[ed] the door to a previously nonexistent market for human eggs,' which is bad enough, but does not mention that it has also opened the door to a market for the tiniest human beings, according to embryologists' own definition of when human life begins. Embryonic human beings are now, thanks to Dr. Roberts, a valuable commodity. Not only human oocytes, although the fact that both are for sale is a huge moral problem that the article quickly glosses over, as if there is only a religious objection to trading human life.

    Malcolm Potts has a long and close association with International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF), as he was its first medical director. A competent

    reporter would at least mention this fact before citing Potts as an authority on the Church's precise teaching on the beginning of life. Not only this, but the paper cited was published by the virulently pro-abortion, anti-Catholic 'Catholics for Choice,' an organization that has been repeatedly denounced by the Church.

    The main point Potts tries to make is bogus, comparing IVF with tubectomy, the removal of the Fallopian tube. IVF is catering to the wants and desires of a person; tubectomy is performed to save the woman's life, which is the direct intention of the action, as opposed to intending the destruction of her child.

    The reporter also uncritically lets slide Potts' claim that the Vatican's guidelines are based on 'statistics.' In reality, of course, statistics are mentioned nowhere in the 1987 document or in Donum Vitae, and even the most cursory glance at relevant Church teaching will show that statistics have nothing to do with the Church's position on the value and dignity of human life, and when life begins.

    Such incompetent and/or disingenuous reporting only hurts what remains of TIME Magazine's reputation as an objective source that can be trusted by all who want to know the truth.

Second, The New York Times strikes again.

In an Oct. 11 column titled "The True Mission of 'Crisis Pregnancy Centers'" — which can be read here — Susan Dominus wrote:

    A yearlong investigation by Naral Pro-Choice New York found that crisis pregnancy centers — in addition to the E.M.C. centers, there are at least four others in the city — feed women information that has been medically refuted (including an old standby, rejected by the National Cancer Institute, that abortions cause higher rates of breast cancer).

    Partly in response to findings in that report, Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, and Councilwoman Jessica S. Lappin, Democrat of Manhattan, are proposing legislation that would require the stance of these crisis pregnancy centers to be clear to all women who visit them — either intentionally, or by accident while seeking a Planned Parenthood clinic across the street, or because the word 'abortion' loomed much larger to them on that subway sign than the word 'alternative.'

Responding to Dominus' column, Chicago pro-life activist David Avignone wrote (edited):

    Even after being 'deceived' into walking into an E.M.C. pregnancy resource center and meeting with a pro-life counselor, the women are free to leave, walk across the street to Planned Parenthood, and get an abortion. I have yet to come across a pregnancy resource center that forces women to stay until their babies are born. Women have the choice to change their minds at any time and choose death for their babies. Unfortunately, women do not have the ability to go the opposite route: They are not able to go in for their abortions at Planned Parenthood, walk out, go across the street to the pro-life center, and get their babies back.

Also responding to Dominus' column, Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, said in a news release:

    The stridently pro-abortion New York Times, troubled that the abortion-breast cancer (ABC) link is bad for the abortion industry's business, published an article yesterday by Susan Dominus, who falsely claimed that crisis pregnancy centers give women information that 'has been medically refuted....

    Dominus didn't read the NCI's Summary Report. The agency acknowledged one of the three ways abortion raises risk — through the loss of the risk-reducing effect of childbearing. Medical texts say increased childbearing, starting before age 24, and increased lifetime duration of breastfeeding sharply reduce risk. Therefore, the woman who has a full term pregnancy has a lower risk than the one who has an abortion. The NCI contradicted itself by denying abortion is associated with increased breast cancer risk.

    NARAL Pro-Choice America knows the ABC link is bad for business. Knowledge of a link between combined (estrogen + progestin) hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer caused thousands to stop using it. NARAL is turning the tables by attacking crisis pregnancy centers that tell the truth about

    the ABC link.

Related links:

Human Life International

Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media, and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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