The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Media Embargo Slowly Crumbling on Jennifer McKenna Morbelli’s Death

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.






  • Tessa

    Who talked her into this? A baby that might have seizures. Sickening. Where was the husband to protect wife and child? Why did the husband and wife not think this child worthy of life?

  • Tessa

    My last child, I was considered elderly but I refused any of their stupid tests. If the baby is born can deal with bad shit then.

  • ctmom

    Why are you referring to Morelli as a victim? The only victim in this story is the unborn baby.

  • robertstacymccain

    Look, I don’t want to get into questioning the decision-making process by the Morbelli family that led up to this horrible tragedy. I’m obviously pro-life, and there is no need for me to be expressing my opinion in that regard.
    The point of the story is the disgraceful butchery of LeRoy Carhart and, secondarily, the unwillingness of the mainstream media to deal with this inevitable consequence of their liberal “choice” ideology. So long as third-term abortion is legal, and so long as our culture celebrates “choice” and “women’s rights” as the highest possible values, the Law of Large Numbers pretty much guarantees that a certain number of women will die as a result of these atrocities.
    Keep focused on that.

  • Tessa

    Sorry, delete if you want, but it is part of the story.

  • Adjoran

    I have to agree with Tessa and ctmom. This young woman had to cross multiple state lines to find a doctor vile enough to murder her baby. In doing so she not only abandoned her child but also her faith.

    When a bank robber gets killed in the crossfire, they don’t become a victim, and neither does this woman. Carhart is a butcher, but he didn’t stalk this baby on the street. She was delivered to him like a lamb to slaughter.

  • robertstacymccain

    I know it’s part of the story, and I certainly understand how people feel about these issues, but here’s the thing: We don’t have any solid facts yet about the decision-making process that led Jennifer to her fatal choice. On a previous post, a commenter who knew Jennifer praised her as a wonderful person, and we can only imagine what could have led this woman — obviously a Catholic — to make the choice she made.
    I’m not going to delete your comment. I just wanted to let you — and everyone else — know that I don’t want the thread running off on that kind of tangent, which would tend to distract people from what I see as the larger issues of public interest.

  • CS

    There are few facts in this story to report yet. Only allegations of the protesters who were apparently stalking this woman.

    Giving out private medical information is not reporting. But if Stanek is so sure her sources are right, why not give us the sources’ identities? She had no problem giving us the identity of the poor woman who died.

    And how do you know no reporter has called Stanek? Are you saying you have information that she is willing to talk to one?

  • CS

    Do you have permission to use that picture?

  • Stephanie

    The husband actually accompanied her, along with her parents and her sister.

  • ThomasD

    There is a world of difference between a practicing Catholic and a lapsed Catholic, much less someone who has objectively abandoned the faith (even though some of those will continue with the overt trappings and rituals.)

    When you choose abortion you have explicitly rejected the faith. In the eyes of the Church you are no different that someone who strangles an infant in it’s crib. It is sad that the Bishops do not make this fact clearly known.

    The infant at least had the possibility of having been baptized – thus enabling the soul’s entry into Heaven. The unborn has no such benefit. The Catechism is unclear on exactly where that soul ends up, but it is not Heaven.

  • ThomasD

    Why, do you know the photographer?

  • Bob Belvedere

    It used to be Limbo.

  • Bob Belvedere

    In time we can deal with this aspect of the story. Let her be buried first.

  • Tessa

    Yes, let’s hide all the women who are killed by fiends who look like they were dragged off the gutter and given a shave.

  • Delaney Coffer

    33 weeks? Gross. Such a shame the “doctor” couldn’t have died too.

  • Tessa

    One more thing, that Cahhart looks vile. Who would turn their precious children over to him? He looks sick with dead eyes.

  • ThomasD

    That’s been one line of thought going back to Aquinas, but it’s not doctrinal.

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  • DaveO

    ?eal with it while it is fresh, before she is enshrined as a saint of the Tabernacle of Moloch.

    Did the woman’s OB/GYN provide care according to the Obamacare Deathpanel guidelines, e.g. one test, no second opinion?

    As part of the larger culture war, will this death be used to force the congregants of Roman Catholic church to look into the mirror and make a decision? Will this woman be given a Christian burial, complete will all rites accorded to a member in good stead? Will her child? Or does playing by the rules of Christ and the following the catechism even matter anymore in America? Or do we get to hear the incessant whining about unfairness and Jesus being a marxist?
    What will Cardinal Dolan do?

  • Delaney Coffer

    Was this little child euthanized first or was it’s pristine, living body ripped into little pieces as mandated by our Constitution?

  • Delaney Coffer

    33 weeks. All my children(after the first one) were taken at 37 weeks. We have huge babies, thus the need.

    33 weeks.

    That’s a killing. It’s not a “choice”. It’s a killing. Respect a woman’s right to hire a killer all day long if you wish, but it’s a killing.

  • Marie Therese

    What husband and family would allow her to do this? That is cruel; now she is dead and so is her baby. WE need to look at what we are doing if a woman would do this after finding out her baby might have siezures?

  • Marie Therese

    I find it hard to have any sympathy for this family! Shame on Them!

  • Marie Therese

    It shows how we have raised a generation who think of babies as being disposable and not worthy of life. She made this choice and frankly I can’t see how she could do this at 33 weeks; it is just cruel! We live in a society that loves abortion and it is a very ugly business. I am not pro-life, but doing and getting an abortion at 33 weeks it just CRUEL. The LEFT and the population reduction ugenists LOVE abortion that is why they have wiped out 55% of the african american race! People need to read Margaret Sanger’s own words the LEFT loves her yet she was a very disturb person. DO we want this kind of person influencing these kinds of choices. This woman was WAY past the point of no return. YOu hear the LEFT screaming we won’t go backk to a coat hanger days, but getting an abortion at 33 weeks is worse than a coat hanger abortion. We don’t need to be encouraging this. What she did was awful and her child was the victim not her.

  • Marie Therese


  • Marie Therese

    No I read the child is killed with poisons first. What a STUPID decision this was. Where are the adults in the room. Unreal!

  • Bob Belvedere

    From Wikipedia:

    In the theology of the Catholic Church, Limbo (Latin limbus, edge or boundary, referring to the “edge” of Hell) is a speculative idea about the afterlife condition of those who die in Original Sin without being assigned to the Hell of the Damned. Limbo is not an official doctrine of the Catholic Church or any other Christian denomination. Medieval theologians, in western Europe, described the underworld (“hell”, “hades”, “infernum”) as divided into four distinct parts: Hell of the Damned (which some call Gehenna), Purgatory, Limbo of the Fathers or Patriarchs, and Limbo of the Infants.

  • CS

    Hey, let’s break into her parents’ house and get more pictures to use without their permission!

  • CS

    I don’t care about the copyright, genius. The family should sue for public disclosure, appropriation, and/or false light.

  • ThomasD

    Public disclosure of what? Appropriation of what? And please explain your basis for asserting that the display of this image places the deceased in a false light.

  • CS

    I’m afraid I don’t have time to teach you tort law, Thomas. You will have to consult an attorney or avail yourself of a library.

    Protip for RSM, though – “I only republished” is not a defense.

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  • ThomasD

    “Newsworthy’ certainly is though, isn’t it?

    IANAL, but you couldn’t teach me a thing. If you think there is a case to be had here I truly feel sorry for any ‘clients’ who mistakenly darken your door.

    But, so we’re all clear here, I was not asking for a general education. I was asking for you to provide the particulars of the injuries you allege. As you cannot cite them I doubt they exist, and they certainly have no direct relation to any need for ‘permission’ as regards the use of the photo.

    But by all means, feel free to keep wandering off in the weeds.

  • ThomasD

    Are you implying that the posted photo was illicitly obtained?

    Because falsely alleging criminal activity is highly unethical, if not outright actionable.

  • Laura Jensen (D)

    Wonder if she would have had a funeral for the little girl if she had survived the hotel stay abortion?

  • Laura Jensen (D)

    If the death was the result of malpractice wouldn’t that be manslaughter? Not sure how the circumstances of a manslaughter could be covered by HIPPA…

  • Laura Jensen (D)

    So I can assume that you also believe that we should have kept all photos of the Sandy Hook victims out of sight? James Holmes’ victims? The Columbine Killers? I can go on…

  • Tessa

    You would think her mother would have talked her out of it. WE CAN HELP YOU

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  • darnesha7733

    ….Holocaust ? PolPot?….

  • Pingback: “EXCLUSIVE: Funeral Held for N.Y. Elementary Teacher Who Died After Abortion” | protein wisdom()

  • darnesha7733

    Hey C. S. do you think this tragedy would have made it into the MSM if Carhart had used a gun instead of his “medical” license to kill this woman & her child? Why do you defend this monster? You condemn the people who tried in vain to prevent this? As for the “stalking” accusation?…Those who pray & protest the murder of innocents & innocense can hardly be called stalkers. My heart aches for the family of this woman & her child…the second guessing, the empty arms. There is no disorder that can justify this outcome.Should we kill all the born children who have disabilities? This whole episode is born of a culture that has lost its bearings.

  • Jeanette Victoria

    Why did this married Catholic woman feel it was OK to murder her 33 week disabled unborn child?

  • AD82

    So your major criticism of both the Washington Post and Omaha herald articles is that they don’t mention the name of someone who died during an operation and instead make the focus of their article about a protest? You contradict yourself in your own write up, first saying that no one would know about this unless the protestors were out there protesting…..and then, turning around, and complaining that they are making the story ABOUT THE PROTEST.

    I think it’s fair to criticize modern “journalism”, but since when do you, myself, or anyone else have the right to information concerning this woman’s medical history? How is that possible any of your concern whatsoever.

  • AD82

    Ridiculous. No one loves abortion. The fact that you seem to believe that anyone does (along with a number of your other ridiculous assertions about eugenics) suggests a very serious disconnect with reality. People want the freedom to have all medical options on the table when it concerns their body and their health. That’s not an advocacy for any course of action, at all, abortion or otherwise.

    You have absolutely no idea what lead this young woman to make the decision she made, nor frankly, do you have any vested interest in it. So the question really should be: what is it about your own life that you feel so unsatisfied with that you feel compelled to criticize others for?

  • AD82

    This tragedy did make the MSM. The complaint of this blog’s writer is that it evidently wasn’t broadcast fast enough, because evidently the conservative view point is to run with a story early and often regardless of whether facts have been disclosed yet.

    As for this little fantasy of yours. If you can’t spot the difference between a failed, elective medical procedure and homicide via a handgun, then you really are out of your depth in this conversation….or any other.

    And you clearly have no idea what you are talking about with regard to this woman’s decision and the problems her child would have potentially faced. So give it a rest.

  • AD82

    Do you three often make it a habit to comment on the medical decisions of others….the basis, for which, you know precisely nothing?

  • Leigh Ann Coudriet

    ThomasD, you are wrong about the after life of a child. I strongly encourage you to read the book: I’ll Hold You in Heaven by Jack Hayford. The Bible is clear on it’s teaching of an infant’s death even if the catholic church is not. Choosing abortion does not mean you have REJECTED THE FAITH – it means you have SINNED – just like committing adultery, stealing and lying. This woman was probably filled with fear and fear comes from the Enemy of God and His people.— Satan. In a moment of weakness she made a fatal decision for her baby and herself but that doesn’t mean she lost her salvation if she had trusted Christ as her Savior before. We are guaranteed our salvation by the deposit of the HOLY SPIRIT — NOT BY OUR WORKS. STUDY EPHESIANS 2: 8-9 and the Book of Romans.

  • darnesha7733

    This was an “elective” termination of an innocent baby. It resulted in the death of both mother & baby. Both were killed by a professional hit man hiding behind medical scrubs. Regardless of the instrument used, the result is the same.