“Over-the-top” news coverage of the webcam abortion debate

By Jenifer Bowen

The real difference between the Iowa Board of Medicine decision two years ago on webcam abortions and the most recent board overturning that decision is not Gov. Branstad’s appointed board. It’s the Register’s over-the-top, biased coverage.

Why did the Register repeatedly say “Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, has appointed all the current members” and Branstad “packed” the medical board, but never mentioned that the last board was appointed entirely by liberal Democrat Chet Culver?

Why was this board “political,” but the Culver board, which included Dr. Rodney Zeitler of Iowa City, who was writing big checks to Planned Parenthood’s Voters of Iowa Political Action Committee, and other board members who gave thousands of dollars to the “Chet Culver Committee” not political?

Why did the Register publish the names of current board members, where they were from, how they voted but did not reveal any of these details about the Culver board?

The Register’s editorial of Sept. 4 included this statement about the current board:

“Of course, [Board of Medicine chairman Dr. Greg] Hoversten does not work for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

Did someone from the Culver board work for the FDA? If they had, they would not have rubber-stamped Planned Parenthood’s violations of FDA medication abortion standards, which increase the danger for Iowa women and profits for Planned Parenthood.

It looks like the Register is the one not “influenced by facts,” as they accused the current Board of Medicine.

The truth is, this board was more fair than the Culver board. The recent hearing lasted three and a half hours, and everyone who signed up to speak on both sides of the issue was allowed to speak. The Culver board let pro-lifers know at the last minute they would only have 10 minutes total. And the current board did the unthinkable — they asked questions of Planned Parenthood, something the Register has never done.

We would like to remind the Register that, despite their endorsement of Chet Culver in the last election, he lost — by almost 10 points. The people of Iowa overwhelmingly trust Gov. Branstad and his appointments.

[ Jenifer Bowen is executive director, Iowa Right to Life, Des Moines. This letter appeared in the Des Moines Register today.]