Roe v. Wade was the landmark Supreme Court Case that ruled strict state regulation of abortions unconstitutional and that a woman’s right to an abortion falls within the right to privacy. Many are split between the two opposing sides of the debate. Pro-life supporters are mainly conservatives and do not think abortions should be legal. Pro-choice supporters are mainly liberals who think women have the right to choose whether to have an abortion. During the recent 2018 midterm elections, the controversy over abortion was brought up on several occasions due to Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. Generally, for a fair trial, having unbiased ideologies and values are ideal for Supreme Court Justices because decisions are based on their own interpretation of the law and constitution. However, there is controversy as to whether Kavanaugh “could vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.” due to a past court decision. (Scallhorn, par. 1). This issue is portrayed in articles from Politico and Fox News. Although both sources touch on Kavanaugh’s standing on abortions and the possible results of the repeal of Roe v. Wade, Politico clearly detests Kavanaugh and the repeal of abortion rights, while Fox News shows support for him and faintly hints at the subtle positives of the repeal of abortion rights.
The two opposing articles clearly reflect the ideologies of each source. Politico is widely known for writing for more liberal audiences. On the other hand, Fox News has shown much support for our Republican President and appeals more to conservative audiences. Fox News has received backlash from liberals for writing about irrelevant news and stories. In addition, Fox News claims that liberal sources, such as Politico, spread fake news. Because the two articles write to appeal to two different audiences and has opposing ideologies, it reflects the source’s views on the controversy. The title of the Politico article, “Why Conservatives Should Beware a Roe v. Wade Repeal” clearly lets the audience know the author’s opposition of the matter by using the words “conservatives should beware.” The title of the Fox article, “Abortion, Roe v. Wade at center of Supreme Court nominee debate: What could happen to the landmark law?” does not show support for either side. Instead, it draws more attention towards the effects of repealing the court case. Although the title of the Fox article does not show any bias to conservative beliefs, the article later alludes to conservative ideology.
Before Kavanaugh was officially confirmed by Senate, many speculated his standing on abortions. In the Fox article, it states that “Kavanaugh has not expressed outright opposition to abortion,” and that the one clue about his standing only gives “a glimpse into his views” due to a decision he made by withholding the approval of an undocumented teenager to have an abortion. (Schallhorn, par. 2). Although Schallhorn mentions that Kavanaugh’s standing on abortions is unknown, she quickly contradicts her statement in the next sentence by adding details regarding Kavanaugh’s decision, which only hints that Kavanaugh is pro-life. In addition, Fox argues that Kavanaugh’s decision on the case “angered” both sides of the debate, which is also a claim that his decision does not justify where he stands on the debate. (Schallhorn, par. 3). In contrast, Politico is quick to state that Kavanaugh stands with the pro-life side of the debate by avoiding “discussion of Roe v. Wade” but also offering the “anti-abortion movement . . . credible opportunity” to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Zeltz, et al. Par 1).
Political gets straight to the point when arguing its claims about Kavanaugh’s standing and abortion. However, Fox manipulates the language used in the article. The language Fox uses makes Kavanaugh seem unbiased, which is ideal for a Supreme Court Judge. For example, Fox uses the words “presumably conservative” to describe Kavanaugh’s addition to the court. This implies that it is not known for certain whether or not Kavanaugh is a conservative. Fox also quotes pro-life activist Lila Rose on “the most basic human right- the right to life.” Fox continues and uses the statement “the right to life” a total of three times in a three-sentence paragraph. (Schallhorn, par. 27). The repetition of the phrase emphasizes the articles ideology and support for pro-life. Fox also attempts to provide information supporting pro-choice by quoting the founder of a woman’s health organization who stated that in the future there will be more “’chipping away’ at Roe. . . even if it does remain intact.” (Schallhorn, par 19). The addition of the last phrase in that sentence distinctly demonstrates the word manipulations used by Fox.
On the other hand, Politico somewhat draws attention to pro-choice by mentioning Justice Harry Blackmun and conservative evangelicals. In Blackmun’s draft, he stated legal abortions only during first trimester and granted state regulation on abortions any time after the first trimester. (Zeltz, et al. Par. 13). This suggests that Justice Blackmun considered both sides of the debate while formulating his draft which alludes at unbiased decisions. Politico also mentions how “most conservative evangelicals were initially supportive” of abortions in cases where a women’s health was at risk but ultimately leaned towards “hard-line fundamentalist” views which opposed abortions completely. (Zeltz, et al. Par. 18). In addition, the 1979 “anti-abortion film, Whatever Happened to the Human Race” was viewed in churches and schools around the country which changed the views of many. (Zeltz, el al. Par. 20). This is significant because demographics show Christian and Catholic religious individuals tend to lean towards conservative views. School is also one of the main factors that contribute to an individual’s political association therefore, students who viewed the film in school are likely influenced to lean toward pro-life.
The focus of both articles is also drastically different. The Politico article argues that overturning Roe v. Wade could backfire and generate “political activity in favor of abortion rights.” (Zeltz, et al. Par 2). If Roe were to be overturned, other landmark cases such as Griswold v. Connecticut, which ruled that limitations on buying birth control is unconstitutional, will have to be revisited because birth control products and abortions both fall within the “right to privacy.” (Zeltz, et al. Par 5). Although the right to privacy is not strictly mentioned in the constitution, it can be implied. An example of this can be found in the first (privacy of beliefs), third (privacy of one’s home), fourth (privacy against unreasonable searches and seizures), fifth (privacy of personal information), and ninth amendments (privacy rights that are not stated in the other amendments). Because Supreme Court Justices interpret the Constitution and these implications in their own way, it can result in differences in limitations on the right to privacy depending on the Judge. (Zeltz, el al. Par 7).
Unlike Politico, Fox subtly hints that overturning Roe v. Wade will make abortions progressively more difficult to obtain. Fox states that the Supreme Court can choose which cases to hear therefore, if a case questions Roe v. Wade then the court can “deny its review.” (Schallhorn, par. 24). Fox argues that in future cases, despite Kavanaugh’s presumable support for anti-abortions, the court can simple choose not to review cases which concern abortion controversy. It’s also mentioned that prior to the Roe v. Wade ruling, “twelve states had banned abortions. . . [and] twenty-one states had pre-viability bans.” (Schallhorn, par. 29). This means that abortions will be legal in some states and illegal in others. As a result, women can still obtain abortions if they had the money to travel to a location where abortion is legal. On the other hand, the other women without money would not be able to get the procedure. (Schallhorn, par. 21). Fox also includes a section which focuses on Norma McCorvey, better known as “Roe,” and how years after the Roe v. Wade ruling, she “regretted her role” in the case and became pro-life. (Schallhorn, par. 8). This portion hints that even the woman who made abortions legal regretted her part in the controversy. By adding this to the article it further demonstrates Fox News’ support towards pro-life.
In modern American politics, the controversy over the Roe v. Wade remains even decades after the ruling. By looking at the different ideologies, wording, and focus of the two articles, the objective of both sources is evident. Politico’s article provides information directed towards a more liberal audience and as a result give statements that go against Kavanaugh and pro-life activists. Fox News is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum and provides statements supporting pro-life and defending Kavanaugh. Depending on an individual’s political ideology, one article may be favored over the other. Although both articles discuss similar topics, the difference in opinions, tone, and focus between the two articles reflect the audience that the source is aiming to influence or inform.