ABC Tasmania fails in reporting accurately – again, and again

Zebra-PferdREPRODUCTIVE HEALTH (ACCESS TO TERMINATIONS) BILL 2013 is currently before the upper house committee. I am not going to delve in to the arguments in this post. However I would like to give a fair whack to ABC for their hopeless reporting on the topic.

ABC Tasmania radio news, and ABC TV News both were comprehensively inaccurate in their reporting yesterday. (From the ABC web site, but radio, and TV news were very close to word perfect the same “The Tasmanian bill, which passed the Lower House in April, would allow terminations at up to 16 weeks on advice from a doctor”.) The ABC are clearly reporting the legislation allows for termination UP TO 16 weeks with the consent of a doctor. This is quite clearly NOT what the legislation allows for and is quite misleading reporting.

The legislation allows for abortion in early term at the woman’s request (regardless of professional medical opinion) and later term with the consent of two doctors. As drafted the changeover point was 24 weeks, in the parliamentary process (lower house) this has been reset to 16 weeks.

The two links below show the draft legislation and information paper.

http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/126720/ReproductiveHealth_Consult_Draft.pdf

http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/126641/INFO_PAPER_for_consult_FINAL.pdf

From the information paper “The revised laws propose to adopt a new framework for terminations at or before 24 weeks gestation, and to keep the current two doctor approval requirement for terminations after 24 weeks.” My complaint about their inaccuracy is not a matter of opinion it is that the ABC is not even close to the information the minister put out with her legislation.

I am going to be (I believe) generous and suggest the ABC is hopelessly incompetent on this topic rather than biased. But in all honesty I think it is not too difficult to guess the ABC reporters personal view – there is reporting, and there is opinion and on this topic the ABC Tasmania is a serial offender in conflating the two.

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