RH Reality Check, May 2, 2012 by Robin Marty
States across the country held coordinated protests on April 28th, where advocates for reproductive rights reminded legislators that their bodies are not up for debate.
One of the largest of these protests was in Denver, Colorado. But no one seems to know it happened at all.
According to Beth, a Denver rally participant, at least 1500 people were at the capitol to show their support for women’s reproductive health. There was, however, not a single mention in the media of the event.
As we all went home, anxious to relate our experiences over social media and to see how the news would cover our victorious march, we heard…
Actually, I think crickets is an overstatement.
Not a single peep was heard over the airwaves of Denver from the major news outlets in our city, including: 9News (KUSA-NBC), Channel 7 (ABC), Channel 4 (CBS), or Channel 31 (Fox). Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
I woke up this morning, thinking, Well, maybe they just needed some time to get the information out there. But a cursory glance at all of their websites would indicate that these local networks are, in fact, not interested in covering women’s rights at all or a local march that brought thousands to the steps of the State Capitol and was attended by many local politicians in support of the march. Even the Denver Post, our one and only local paper, blew us off – not even a sidebar mention.
She contacted a few of the outlets, and was told by some that they simply lacked capacity over the weekend. Others ran small snippets on local outlets. But state media on the whole made it clear that they considered a march for women’s rights a non-news event.
What’s puzzling is how they could think it wasn’t.
Just one day prior to the march, lawmakers were inside the capitol holding a debate over whether or not an employer’s “moral beliefs” were enough to allow him or her to refuse to allow birth control coverage as part of an employee health plan. A replica of the Blunt Amendment shot down in the Senate earlier this year, Colorado Republicans sponsored the bill in yet another attempt to publicly state that an alleged need “to protect religious freedoms,” trumps a woman’s right to health care or her ability to have sex without getting pregnant.
And despite the fact that the bill was destined never to pass, and brought up by the GOP simply to attack women, a heated debate still ensured.
“For the women that are here, for us this is not political. This is personal,” [Democratic Sen. Morgan Carroll] said. “It is about our rights … I think this has at least an equal dignity, an equal worth of anything we’re going to debate here.”
Democratic Sen. Angela Giron accused Republicans of using women’s bodies as “political pawns.”
Republican Sen. Ellen Roberts disagreed.
“This is a manufactured war on the Senate floor. Women against women, and I find that very difficult to swallow,” she said.
Roberts supported the measure and argued that it was a matter of religious freedom. She said the “issue has been twisted” for partisan reasons.
The media is more than eager to enable and display the myriad attacks on women’s health. When will media give equal time to the women — and men — standing up against these attacks?