Tell Cable News to Include More Health Experts in Reproductive Rights Coverage

fox news

Target: CNN, FOX News, MSNBC

Goal: Increase number of health experts featured in reproductive rights coverage

A recent study conducted by Media Matters shows that only four out of 92 cable news guests who discussed the recent Texas abortion legislation were women’s health experts. FOX News was the worst offender, hosting no health experts during its coverage of reproductive rights issues. CNN hosted two, and MSNBC hosted three.

The vast majority of conversations about reproductive rights legislation on cable news happens between political figures and pundits. It makes sense to include political commentators in the conversation, as the issue is very politicized in today’s society. Inviting pundits and activists to the debate also allows prominent reproductive rights advocates to have a seat at the table.

However, reproductive rights are not only about justice. They are also a medical issue. Doctors and public health experts are necessary to the conversation. Medical experts can explain the health implications of legislation, such as the associated medical harms of banning abortion and why requiring forced vaginal ultrasounds isn’t necessary from a medical perspective.

It’s problematic enough that lawmakers rarely seek guidance from medical experts when voting on controversial reproductive rights issues. The public deserves to be informed about all sides of the issue, and leaving out health is a huge problem. Sign the petition below to tell CNN, FOX, and MSNBC to include more health experts in their coverage of reproductive rights. This will ensure more diverse, informative, and balanced reporting.

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Dear CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC,

Media Matters has uncovered a troubling fact about your coverage of reproductive rights issues: Women’s health experts are rarely — if ever — invited to the table during discussions of legislation that undeniably affect women’s health. During your coverage of the recent abortion bill in Texas, CNN only hosted two medical experts, MSNBC hosted three, and FOX hosted none. Out of a total of 92 cable news guests, only four were women’s health experts. These discrepancies are huge.

Political figures, pundits, and activists should all have a seat at the table, but the degree to which they outnumber actual medical and public health experts is appalling. Reproductive rights issues certainly pertain to health, and truly balanced reporting would include perspectives from experts who can speak to these health implications.

I urge you to improve your coverage of reproductive rights issues by inviting more women’s health experts to the table. This will bring more balance and valuable information to your reporting. The public deserves to be informed of the health implications of abortion bans and other similar legislation.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: ario_ via Flickr

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51 Signatures

  • jeff hopkins
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