Posted on | February 12, 2013 | 97 Comments
Jennifer McKenna Morelli with her future husband in 2008
Jennifer Morbelli died last Thursday at Shady Grove Hospital in the Maryland suburbs of D.C. after undergoing a gruesome third-term abortion ordeal at Dr. LeRoy Carhart’s Germantown Reproductive Health clinic. A 29-year-old married kindergarten teacher in the affluent Westchester County suburbs of New York, Morbelli had actually named her unborn daughter Madison Leigh, but reportedly decided to seek an abortion in her 33rd week of pregnancy after prenatal testing diagnosed her baby as suffering from a disorder that causes seizures.
Both Morbelli and her daughter will be recognized at a funeral mass Wednesday — coincidentally, Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent — at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in New Rochelle.
Carhart has been called “likely the most prominent abortionist in America.” Carhart has been the plaintiff in two cases that reached the U.S. Supreme Court and was featured in a highly-praised documentary, After Tiller, about an abortionist who was assassinated in 2009.
Given these facts, ask yourself a question: How could any news editor look at the death of Jennifer Morbelli and say, “That”s not a story”?
This is not merely news, it’s got enough of a human-interest angle to deserve at least a two-hour network special or a magazine cover story.
Forget your opinion about the legal and political controversies involved and think about the basic journalistic news value of this story. Here is a profound human tragedy, a young woman who died in a heartbreaking circumstance which just happens to be a microcosm of a major national issue, and . . . that’s not a story? Turn in your press credentials, clean out your desk and find yourself another line of work.
This was why, last Friday, I called attention to the complete news blackout on the story: Jennifer Morbelli died in the Maryland suburbs of D.C., and yet neither the Washington Post nor the Baltimore Sun deemed it newsworthy? The illogic was glaring, and the Washington Post finally did a 350-word article inside the Metro section of Sunday’s paper. The media embargo crumbled further yesterday when the Journal News in Westchester County, N.Y., reported on the death of the local kindergarten teacher. And now the Washington Post has followed up with coverage of Monday’s press conference by pro-life activists:
The Maryland Office of Health Care Quality is investigating the death of a woman who visited a controversial abortion clinic in Germantown before dying last week at a local hospital.
More than 150 demonstrators gathered near the clinic Monday to step up their efforts to draw national attention to the case, asserting that the clinic’s leader, LeRoy Carhart, was directly responsible for the woman’s death and that she had come to his office for a multi-day abortion procedure when she was 33 weeks pregnant.
“We will not rest until this clinic is shut down and the license of LeRoy Carhart is revoked. God let it be so,” the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said at the demonstration.
The circumstances leading to the woman’s death remained unclear Monday. State and county officials confirmed that she had visited the abortion clinic and that she died Thursday morning at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, but they offered no details.
Antiabortion demonstrators seized upon the incident to try to sway public opinion about late-term procedures. Many of their specific claims about the case could not be immediately verified. . . .
You can read the whole thing, and I could criticize how the reporter, Dan Morse, handled the story, making “antiabortion demonstrators” (rather than LeRoy Carhart or Jennifer Morbelli) the central characters of the narrative and insinuating that their version of events was unreliable. (As I pointed out Monday night, “If it weren’t for pro-life activists who keep constant vigil at this facility, we might not even know about Jennifer Morbelli’s painful death.”) But I’m not criticizing Morse, at least not at length, because at this point I really don’t care how much pro-abortion spin or liberal bias goes into mainstream media coverage of the story, just so long as they actually cover the story.
In the same spirit, therefore, let us applaud Roseann Moring and Robby Korth of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald for their coverage:
A New York woman’s death has put Bellevue abortion provider LeRoy Carhart back in the national spotlight.
Abortion opponents say a 29-year-old kindergarten teacher died Thursday after getting a late-term abortion at Carhart’s clinic in Germantown, Md.
Carhart did not return messages left on his cellphone Monday. A woman who answered the phone at his Bellevue clinic said he would not be available for comment.
Maryland authorities confirmed the woman’s death but said they still are investigating the cause. Montgomery County (Md.) Police and the Medical Examiner’s Office declined to say whether she had been at Carhart’s clinic.
So far, abortion opponents are the only ones who have publicly linked the death to Carhart’s clinic.
Carhart is one of the nation’s few doctors who perform late-term abortions. He had done so at Bellevue’s Abortion and Contraception Clinic until 2010, when the Nebraska Legislature banned abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation.
He then opened the Germantown Reproductive Health Services clinic about 30 miles north of Washington, D.C.
Carhart also considered opening a late-term abortion clinic in Council Bluffs.
In response, Iowa lawmakers proposed legislation aimed at keeping him out of the state. . . .
Read the whole thing and notice that, like the Washington Post‘s Dan Morse, the World-Herald reporters don’t name Jennifer Morbelli as the victim, and make clear that they are merely reporting the assertions made by “abortion opponents.” Heaven forbid that any mainstream reporter should actually do some actual journalism the way “just a blogger” Jill Stanek did on this story.
If you know anything about Jill Stanek (which, of course, no liberal reporter would) you know that she wouldn’t report something like this unless she was absolutely certain of the facts, and so this concern-troll attitude that Stanek’s reporting “could not be immediately verified” bespeaks the incompetence and sloth of reporters who can’t be bothered, at least, to contact Stanek as a source. (Hint: She’s on Twitter.)
However, I don’t want to complain too much about this, because I’m genuinely grateful for any mainstream media coverage of this story. In fact, if some left-wing feminist blogger like Amanda Marcotte or Elspeth Reeve decided to do a post condemning pro-life bloggers for their coverage of Jennifer Morbelli’s death, I would absolutely welcome it. Please, feel free to denounce me by name, call me a hateful misogynist or whatever, and I don’t care: Just stop ignoring the story.
There will be a funeral in New Rochelle tomorrow morning — Ash Wednesday — and I defy anyone to say that funeral isn’t legitimate news.
- Feb. 8: Doctor Death: 29-Year-Old Patient Dies After Late-Term Abortion in Maryland UPDATE: Complete Media Blackout by Feminists, Major News Organizations
- Feb. 10: Finally: Washington Post Covers Death of Woman at Maryland Abortion Clinic
- Feb. 11: Carhart Victim Identified: N.Y. Woman Sought Abortion for ‘Fetal Abnormalities’
- Feb. 11: How Many More Women Will Die Before Abortionist LeRoy Carhart Is Stopped?
- Feb. 11: Despite Death in Carhart Clinic, Fanatics Want to Open Abortion Clinic in Wichita