In the course of just a few months, abortion laws on the opposite sides of the political spectrum were passed in several states. On the Left, there was New York, which effectively made abortion legal in nearly all circumstances up until birth; on the Right, there were states like Georgia and Alabama — the latter banning abortion entirely with the former banning abortion after doctors detect an unborn child's heartbeat in the mother's womb.
According to a new study at Newsbusters, the major networks have collectively "devoted almost an hour (59 minutes, 38 seconds) of coverage (May 7-16)" to the pro-life laws while spending practically zero time on New York's radical late-term abortion law or the horrific statements from Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam back in January defending infanticide. From the Newsbusters report:
From the morning of May 7 (when Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the Life Act into law) through the morning of May 16 (After Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed that state’s new law and Missouri’s senate passed its abortion bill) the networks filled their evening and morning shows with hand-wringing over what this meant for Roe v. Wade.
On May 15 NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt decried how "46 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled abortion a constitutional right, the state of Alabama has just openly defied that landmark decision." On the May 16 edition of NBC’s Today show correspondent Pete Williams called the Alabama bill a “blunt force attack on Roe v. Wade.”
When referencing these laws, reporters would often use buzzwords like "extreme," "controversial," or "restrictive." Jericka Duncan on "CBS This Morning" wondered aloud on May 15 if the abortion ban would "endanger" minority women and sat down for an interview with an abortion activist with a shirt that read, "Everyone loves someone who had an abortion."
Simultaneously, Kerry Sanders on NBC's "Today" profiled some of the "backlash" the bills have been facing, such as Hollywood production companies and actors threatening to boycott the state of Georgia for its new pro-life law.
"These state laws are just coming too fast and they are too extreme," said Jan Crawford on "CBS This Morning."
Earlier in the month, "CBS This Morning" co-host John Dickers said of the Georgia heartbeat bill: "This morning, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is expected to sign one of the most restrictive and controversial anti-abortion laws in the country."
While most networks did ignore the clear extremism on display with the New York abortion law, "NBC Nightly News" actually hailed the law as "good news" in the fight for abortion rights, according to LifeNews.
"What do we know, specifically, about these states that are trying to move and protect abortion rights?" anchor Lester Holt asked Stephanie Gosk.
Gosk said that New York "has already passed a law that protects abortion in the third trimester under certain circumstances."
“[B]ut there are ten other states that are looking at proposals to protect abortions," Gosk continued. "One of them is Massachusetts, where the legislation proposes removing certain obstacles and expanding access," she further assured Holt.