Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How Not to Discredit Pro-Choicers

Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek has been critiquing a Salon blogger, Mikki Kendall, who claims she almost died because of a doctor who refused to perform an abortion. Stanek raises some good, important questions about the credibility of Kendall's story, but she undermines her own work by claiming to have found a smoking gun that's anything but.

Stanek first highlights this quote from Kendall's original piece:
I don’t know if his objections were religious or not; all I know is that when a bleeding woman was brought to him for treatment he refused to do the only thing that could stop the bleeding. Because he didn’t do abortions. Ever.

Then Kendall's follow-up quote:
Some say I should name and shame the doctor that refused to do the procedure. If I knew why he refused I might have done just that, but since I know that there are many possible reasons that he did not do it? I’ve left him to deal with the internal procedures in place.
Stanek's reaction:

Excuse me? Kendall’s entire Salon story was built upon her accusation that a heartless, negligent, anti-abortion doctor was willing to let her hemorrhage to death rather than provide a life-saving abortion.

And she has now admitted her story was a big, fat, fabricated lie.
Except the quote shows nothing of the sort. At most, Kendall's latest words admit she doesn't know the doctor's motives, whereas she earlier implied that she knew the doctor had personal objections to abortion. That "inconsistency" is shaky enough, but the main problem is that it does nothing to show Stanek's allegation that Kendall's story "was a big, fat, fabricated lie." It doesn't change any of the much more germane details of the story, like what Kendall's condition was, whether the doctor did in fact refuse, or whether the incident occurred at all.

Jill Stanek, as well as the folks at NewsBusters who re-posted her piece, simply can't afford to be so careless when it comes to ensuring the evidence backs up their arguments.

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