Reuters Editor's Email 'Sad But Revealing,' Pro-Life Group Says

July 7, 2008 - 7:05 PM

(CNSNews.com) - A Reuters news service editor sent an e-mail to a pro-life group last week, criticizing the group's stance on abortion as well as its support of the Bush administration. The angry email has prompted the pro-life group to question the editor's journalistic integrity.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, the email came "out of the blue" from Todd Eastham, a news editor for Reuters. Eastham was responding to a press release that the National Right to Life Committee sent to hundreds of news outlets after a federal judge in New York struck down a ban on partial birth abortion.

Eastham's email read as follows: "What's your plan for parenting & educating all the unwanted children you people want to bring into the world? Who will pay for policing our streets & maintaining the prisons needed to contain them when you, their parents & the system fail them? Oh, sorry. All that money has been earmarked to pay off the Bush deficit. Give me a frigging break, will you?"

Douglas Johnson, the National Right to Life Committee's legislative director, called it "sad but revealing to see an editor for a major news service so casually and gratuitously express such blatant hostility to both the Bush administration and to the right to life of unborn children.

"Apparently, Mr. Eastham feels strongly that abortion is necessary to prevent the birth of children who will otherwise snatch some bread from his mouth," said Johnson. "We can only wonder at how such vehement opinions may color Mr. Eastham's reporting or editing on subjects such as abortion and the Bush administration."

At the bottom of Eastham's email is a statement that reads: "Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender specifically states them to be the views of Reuters Ltd."

That "boilerplate material" invites Eastham's readers to visit the Reuters website, Johnson noted. Johnson said he did visit the website, where he found a Reuters' editorial policy, which said, "Reuters journalists do not offer their own opinions or views."

The press release sent out last week by the National Right to Life Committee followed U.S. District Judge Richard C. Casey's ruling last week on the partial-birth abortion ban, which President Bush signed into law last year.

Casey struck down the ban as unconstitutional, based on a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said laws banning certain types of abortions must include an exception for the health of the mother. Although Casey struck down the partial birth abortion ban, he also called the procedure "gruesome, brutal, barbaric, and uncivilized."

"Future appointments to the Supreme Court will determine whether it remains legal to mostly deliver living premature infants and painfully puncture their skulls," the NRLC's Johnson said in a statement last week.

"President Bush is determined to ban partial-birth abortion, but [Democratic presidential nominee] John Kerry voted against the ban and has vowed that he will appoint only justices who agree with him," he added.

Johnson pointed out that Kerry voted against passing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act "every chance he got - six times." In contrast, President Bush signed the bill on Nov. 5, 2003, saying that in partial-birth abortion "a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth."

The Bush administration is defending the law in three separate legal challenges in three different federal courts.Federal courts in both New York and San Francisco have struck down the law, and a judge in Lincoln, Neb., has not yet issued a ruling.

See Earlier Story:
Federal Judge in NY Rules Partial Birth Abortion Ban Unconstitutional (Aug. 26, 2004)


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