Virginia Christian Alliance Holds Media Accountable

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The VCA network launched into action earlier this week to demand that the Richmond Bureau of the Associated Press correct the false statements it has made about pro-life legislation—statements that could very possibly affect the November election.

In Tuesday night’s debate with E.W. Jackson, Ralph Northam claimed that the recent Virginia pro-life bill referred to by some as “personhood” would criminalize oral contraception and in vitro fertilization.  This claim is utterly false.

The Associated Press exacerbated the falsehood, asserting in Wednesday morning’s “news” coverage of the debate that this legislation would “outlaw almost all forms of abortion.”  Again, false.  While the AP reporter might have expressed this as Northam’s opinion, he instead stated it as an established fact, thus misleading countless Virginia voters and undermining future opportunities for passage of this important pro-life bill.

The verifiable truth is that the bill, in and of itself, would NOT outlaw ANY form of abortion, for a number of reasons that attorney Rita Dunaway, VCA’s Vice President of Public Policy, has explained numerous times.  In light of the law’s current existence in Missouri and a readily available U.S. Supreme Court opinion on this very matter, this is not a question that is even open to serious debate.

Bob Lewis APRita quickly contacted the AP reporter, Bob Lewis, blewis@ap.org) to request a correction.  While Lewis did not deny the falsity of the article’s allegations, he simply responded, “The story stands.”  Rita then appealed that decision to Lewis’ editor at the Richmond AP Bureau, but no correction has been made as of now. (see AP story here)   (Photo: Bob Lewis Twitter Account)

VCA’s request for a correction has been bolstered by voices from the Valley Family Forum and Dr. Alveda King.  If you have not already done so, will you please take 5 minutes to add your voice to ours and insist that the media correct this distortion?  Please e-mail Dena Potter at dpotter@ap.org, and simply ask for a correction of Bob Lewis’ statements about the “personhood” bill.  If you like, you can cut and paste this text into your message:

“Please issue an immediate correction to Bob Lewis’ article about last night’s lieutenant governor candidate debate.  He stated that so-called ‘personhood’ bill proposed last year in Virginia would have outlawed most forms of abortion.  This is not true.  The very same law has been on the books in Missouri for over 25 years, and the Supreme Court refused to overturn it. 

“The media has a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the information it disseminates rather than to spread misinformation about an important, controversial issue.  I am asking you to fulfill this duty to the citizens of Virginia by correcting the false statements.”

Rita DunawayRita M. Dunaway is Vice President for Public Policy with Virginia Christian Alliance. She lives in Harrisonburg.

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The mission of the VIRGINIA CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE is to promote moral, social and scientific issues we face today from a Biblical point of view. In addition we will refute and oppose, not with hate, but with facts and humor, the secular cultural abuses that have overridden laws and standards of conduct of the past. We will encourage Christians to participate in these efforts through conferences, development of position papers, booklets and tracts, radio/TV spots, newspaper ads and articles and letters-to-the editor, web sites, newsletters and providing speakers for church and civic meetings.