Boston Globe sounds false alarm on abortion access

Boston Globe sounds false alarm on abortion access

PE Bias Grade : C

By: Allen Nitschelm on January 8, 2020 | Article Review, Investigative Journalism

This is a review of the following Boston Globe Article:
Article Title Abortion clinic fights to stay open amid debts
Date 01/07/2020
Article Link Boston Globe ( Page A1 )
Syndicated From N/A
Journalist Stephanie Ebbert
Article Summary

Globe reports on for-profit abortion clinic that is losing money and looking for donations.

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The Boston Globe published a story about an abortion clinic in Brookline that is in financial distress. The article seems to suggest that readers who are concerned about having legal access to abortions should contribute to this organization because the “procedure [is] in peril.” Yet the article itself makes it clear that this is simply untrue.

There are 25 abortion providers in the state, including such providers as Planned Parenthood and many hospitals. Yet the number of abortions performed in the state has been decreasing. There could be several reasons why, but the fact remains that the numbers seem to be dropping fast. In the ’00s, for example, there were around 25,000 per year, and recent years have been under 20,000. (See https://abort73.com/abortion_facts/states/massachusetts/). In the 1990s, when this clinic first opened, the annual numbers were in the 40,000’s. (See http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/usa/ab-usa-MA.html).

When you have fewer patients needing this service, it is reasonable to assume that the number of service-providers may also need to decrease. Yet this article does not seem to explore this issue or even question some of the budgetary and cost data it provides. And what makes this important is that this clinic is run by a “for profit” entity, not a not-for-profit one like the larger groups and facilities mentioned.

So it makes me really wonder why the Boston Globe would feature a “for profit” venture on its front page, practically begging readers to find the group’s “Go Fund Me” page to make a donation, when we don’t know who owns this business, what other services are provided, and why the public should donate to a private corporate entity which may no longer be needed in the marketplace?

The director of this company states they haven’t been making a profit since 2006. What is keeping them afloat? And it says that they provide abortion services for “less than cost.” Maybe I am missing something, but how can a for-profit abortion clinic provide its services at below cost and stay in business for 13 years doing so? Something doesn’t add up here.

If the number of abortions is dropping, and they lose money on each abortion they perform, shouldn’t their financial performance be improving if the number of patients using their services is decreasing? Won’t they be losing less money?

So the premise of this entire article, that the state is somehow facing lack of access to abortion services, is completely false. The financial data reported on this outfit is highly suspicious, and there appears to be a lot of missing information that a skeptical reporter would have or should have gotten prior to publishing this apparent fundraising article. How much in taxpayer fees goes to this clinic between Mass Health, Obamacare, or other government subsidies? (“The crisis at Women’s Health Services does not stem directly from a cut to government funding”). How much of the cost for each procedure is paid by the government and how much by the patient? Is the $700 cost the out-of-pocket expense or the total expense? And why is the Globe highlighting a “for-profit” venture in this way?

I emailed the journalist who wrote this piece and received no response. The Boston Globe refuses to defend its shoddy work product, so I am free to wildly speculate.

It seems to me that the Boston Globe is on a political mission to get readers to think that even in the Liberal Commonwealth of Massachusetts, women cannot take their right to an abortion for granted. Even here, the procedure is in danger of restriction, not through legislative means, but economically. Poor women on Mass Health simply won’t be able to afford to have an abortion at 22 or 23 weeks because the most affordable option may no longer be available, and they will have to go to a hospital. So those patients in the Brookline area may need to spend more money if they decide to wait until the last minute, because this particular for-profit clinic is not financially viable.

So I’d say this fits in to the Boston Globe’s partisan cultural “pro-choice” narrative and perhaps is seeking to make “abortion rights” an issue in the upcoming election, or maybe to motivate Massachusetts residents to financially support Democrats who will “protect women’s rights” and keep money-losing, unnecessary, redundant private-sector companies from rightfully closing. And the way to do this is to falsely highlight outfits offering abortion services that are losing money and claim that access to the procedure itself may be at stake. Send them a NON-tax-deductible donation today!

(On a quality of work scale, this article would get an “F” but on my bias scale, I will give it a “C.”)

——=——

Allen Nitschelm is publisher of PublicEditorMA.com. He critiques the Boston Globe, mostly focusing on the bias in their news reporting. News articles are graded for bias, and the website has a listing of the average bias ratings for all reporters reviewed. See our website for more information and the four categories of articles we publish.

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