This week, Texas Public Radio featured a panel of anti-Life experts decrying the updated version of “A Woman’s Right to Know.” Guests even referred to the informative booklet as a “propaganda piece.” The anti-Life spin story came in anticipation of the opening of the 85th Session of the Texas Legislature. “A Woman’s Right to Know” is the important resource given to all pregnant women in the state of Texas who seek elective abortions.
State law requires abortionists to give women the information in the “A Woman’s Right to Know” booklet at least 24 hours before their elective abortions. The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) made changes to correct old, outdated, and erroneous information that was published 13 years ago. Last July, DSHS released a draft of the proposed changes and solicited public comments. After the public comment period, DSHS compiled the final draft addressing input from concerned Texans. Several changes requested by Texas Right to Life were included. Because our organization has worked with stakeholders across the state for decades, DSHS’ inclusion of our requested changes was not a partisan decision but a rightful recognition of the expertise we provide.
Texas Public Radio offered a skewed presentation of the facts. Representative Donna Howard (D-Austin) described the booklet as filled with “inaccuracies” and “misleading information.” In other conversations, when opponents of the booklet were pressed for details, they cited ridiculous criticism like the fact that the booklet uses the term “your baby” instead of the “scientifically accurate” term “fetus.” DSHS realized this booklet should be an accessible resource, not a textbook. These sentiments were echoed throughout the segment, which featured four guests adamantly opposed to the booklet. The host of the program, David Martin Davies, belied his anti-Life bias with leading questions and his badgering of the lone Pro-Life guest on the panel, Kellie Gretschel, executive director of San Antonio Coalition for Life.
The supposed discussion was framed as “’A Woman’s Right to Know’ versus a woman’s right to choose,” which misrepresents the purpose of this very important resource for Texas women. How can someone make an informed choice, in other words actually choose, if she does not have accurate information? Despite what the anti-Life panel suggested, the information in the booklet was selected from neutral, scientific research and vetted for accuracy. While the majority of the guests ridiculed nearly every aspect of the informative booklet, there are respected organizations of medical professionals who vouch for the accuracy of the information presented.
Particularly disturbing in Texas Public Radio’s propaganda piece were the guests’ complete dismissal of fetal pain, the realities of fetal development, the importance of sonograms for informed consent, and the obstinate refusal to acknowledge the long-lasting physical and psychological effects abortion has on countless women.
Additionally, the host described all providers in the Alternatives to Abortion Program (A2A) as “faith-based” organizations that do not provide any medical care. This demonstrates total ignorance of the program. Providers in the network do not offer any faith-based counseling through the state program. Any form of religious counseling is entirely voluntary, separate, and is not reimbursed by the state. Furthermore, the panel ignored the fact that the program was created and is funded to provide social services for women, including counseling, parenting classes, materials assistance, and connections to other programs to get the medical services they need. Most importantly, what these vital outreach organizations do offer is a safe place for women to consider all of their options and find the support they need to make the decision that is best for them and their families. One guest’s charge that booklet is “coercive” ignores the fact many, many women who choose abortion do not do so freely. Alleviating the circumstances of “crisis” pregnancies allows women to actually choose instead of being coerced by boyfriends, parents, or employers to seek an elective abortion.
While “public radio” is supposed to offer a service to all citizens, Texas Public Radio failed abysmally at this goal with the recent look at “A Woman’s Right to Know.” The Pro-Life concerns of so many Texans were presented as based on nothing other than “loosy-goosey documentaries” and a “faith-based point of view.” This could not be farther from the truth. Science shows us that Life begins at conception, and common sense tells us that women need resources and support to make free and informed decisions. Learn more about “A Woman’s Right to Know” and the resources available to Texas women on our website.