Tuesday's New Day on CNN followed the lead of Reuters in giving ideologically-tinged reporting about Pope Francis's latest condemnation of abortion. Kate Bolduan hyped the "blunt words from Pope Francis on abortion", and played up how "conservative Catholics have complained the new pontiff...hasn't been tough enough on the issue until now."
Correspondent Frederik Pleitgen added that "this is one of the strongest statements that this pope has made on abortion, and it comes after he was criticized by some conservatives in the Catholic Church for not taking a forceful enough position." In reality, the Argentinian-born Bishop of Rome made an equally-sharp denunciation of abortion in November in his first apostolic exhortation: [MP3 audio available here; video below]
Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church's effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development.
Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or "modernizations". It is not "progressive" to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.
Moments earlier, Pleitgen outlined that "the Pope called abortions 'horrific,' and said that unborn children are being discarded as – quote, 'unnecessary.' He also criticized a 'throwaway society' that he said was fostering this kind of behavior."
The apostolic exhortation isn't the only pro-life statement from Francis that CNN failed to notice. Back in September 2013, the pontiff exhorted a visiting group of gynecologists to "recognize, in the fragile human being, the face of the Lord...Each child that is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ....And each old person, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the 'culture of waste' proposes!" The AP's Nicole Winfield spun this statement as an "olive branch of sorts to the doctrine-minded, conservative wing of the Catholic Church."
The transcript of the short segment from CNN's Kate Bolduan and Frederik Pleitgen on Tuesday's New Day:
KATE BOLDUAN: Blunt words from Pope Francis on abortion – conservative Catholics have complained the new pontiff isn't – hasn't been tough enough on the issue until now.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has that.
[CNN Graphic: "Pope Francis On Abortion: Blunt Words Follow Conservative Criticisms"]
FREDERIK PLEITGEN: Kate, the Pope called abortions 'horrific,' and said that unborn children are being discarded as – quote, 'unnecessary.' He also criticized a 'throwaway society' that he said was fostering this kind of behavior.
Now, this is one of the strongest statements that this pope has made on abortion, and it comes after he was criticized by some conservatives in the Catholic Church for not taking a forceful enough position. Kate?
BOLDUAN: Frederik, thank you so much.