Media Portrayal of Pro-life Versus Pro-choice to Americans

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 3107 |

Pages: 7|

16 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Words: 3107|Pages: 7|16 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Review of Literature
  3. Favoritism at its Finest
    Perspective of Abortion by Different Women
    Financial Burdens of Traveling
  4. Proposed Methodology
  5. Methodology
  6. Subjects for Study
  7. Conclusion
  8. Work Cited


Abortion is a controversial topic in American society. Yet, it is a popular debate between citizens to decide whether women should have a right to abort a child or not. While the country is divided between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice in various factors of the debate, I aim to illuminate on a different issue that is rarely noticed in media. In fact, news media is the core problem I aim to tackle in this fascinating research.

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My study aims to discover how news media portrays Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice discussions to everyday Americans and how it affects their beliefs on certain topics. First, I will discuss how news media prioritizes one side of the argument over another, thus limiting valuable information to the public that is crucial knowledge. Second, I will dive into how women of different social statuses view abortion based on what news stations broadcast. Lastly, I will give attention to how news media broadcasts popular debates of abortion for profit rather than discussing financial burdens women suffer to find the procedure not in their area.

It is crucial to evaluate the research question to understand why news media’s portrayal of abortion is necessary to recognize as a problem in our society. There is no right or wrong answer to preferring Pro-Choice or Pro-Life. Every individual has a right to express his or her own opinions and beliefs on the subject.

My issue focuses on how news stations avoid reporting crucial updates of abortion laws passed in specific states in pursuit of satisfying the market to receive high grosses of income. This can lead to devastating consequences for oblivious families seeking abortion yet it is not available to them. Therefore, it is important to analyze news media’s portrayal of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice to educate families of the powerful influence of these television stations to manipulate what they show on screen and the effect it can cause on a viewer’s education and perspective of abortion.

Review of Literature

Favoritism at its Finest

Jeb Bryne, author of the scholarly journal The News Media & Abortion: Where Objectivity Fails, focuses on news media’s favoritism to promote Pro-Choice activities and achievements while rarely focusing on Pro-Life beliefs and accomplishments (Bryne, 1991, p. 601-602). Gathering survey data from the Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, Bryne found numerous news stations and newspaper companies publishing an enormous amount of articles every year centered on promoting abortion instead of limiting it. This is a cause of concern if these companies are hiring writers to publish articles that do not educate society of the beliefs and actions of both advocates of abortion.

This can lead readers to become misinformed or unaware of Pro-Life activities that positively or negatively affect their lives. While these companies have never stated their opinions in the abortion argument, Bryne emphasizes their enormous amount of published works have given more advantages for Pro-Choice advocates while restricting Pro-Life views and articles to the public. To a marketer’s perspective, the key to profit is giving your audience what they desire.

Even if news stations and newspaper companies have never explicitly chose what side they support in the abortion argument, their publications of work reveal that majority of people want to see and hear about achievements towards legalizing abortion. In contrast, a later study by Graham focuses on a similar topic except the author dives into specific events where news media avoids discussing Pro-Life achievements.

Tim Graham, author of the scholarly journal Pro-Choice Tilt?, discusses how news stations regularly do not broadcast activities that promote Pro-Life beliefs and laws permitted in a specific state. Instead, they favor movements and laws that encourage abortion. Conducting a broad study over the topic, Graham found news stations do not show Pro-Life activities on screen, instead aiming to show Pro-Choice beliefs and actions for viewer ratings.

Comparing a previous study by Bryne, both researchers found news stations are heavily influenced by huge factors of people supporting abortion, thus limiting opportunities to educate the public by deciding what should or should not be shown on screen. To illustrate, Graham describes how, “…in April, the House passed the Child Custody Protection Act, which would outlaw the transportation of underage girls out of states that require parental notification or consent for an abortion so they can have an abortion without their parents' knowledge…

Despite newsworthy moves on the billsnot only votes and floor debates, but hearings as well-ABC, CBS, and NBC aired nothing on them, which made it much easier for the Senate Democrats to ignore them”. While news stations broadcast Pro-Choice laws as a symbol of victory, they rarely discuss laws sponsoring Pro-Life activities to the public since it is viewed as negative. At the end of the day, news stations seek material that will either shock or please the audience. Unless Pro-Life laws are affecting majority of Americans in various states, they are rarely discussed since it is disappointing news.

Perspective of Abortion by Different Women

Paul F. Swope, author of the scholarly journal Speaking of Abortion: Television And Authority In The Lives Of Women, focuses on Andrea Press and Elizabeth Cole’s research from the University of Chicago’s study of women’s reaction to abortion portrayed in news media. Interviewing dozens of women, the researchers found that the women’s social status would affect their view of abortion presented on screen.

While both classes of women agree that abortion is important in society, Swope expresses there is a drastic difference of opinion towards how it is accessed to the public. To demonstrate, Swope explains how women of lower status are afraid to speak their view of abortion if it will lead to creating anti-abortion laws out of sexism while women of middle class view abortion is necessary under extreme circumstances.

Yet, the author describes how both classes of women believe access to abortion is too accessible and people take advantage of these facilities. Despite difference in opinion of how abortion should be regulated, Swope’s research reveals a huge fraction of American women believe abortion should be allowed in society. If news stations were broadcasting laws that endorse Pro-Life beliefs, they could potentially receive backlash from women that would affect their viewer ratings and respect from the public.

Financial Burdens of Traveling

Jill Walker, Ruvani T. Jayaweera, Ana Maria Ramirez, and Caitlin Gerdts are authors of Experiences of women who travel for abortion: A mixed methods systematic review, a scholarly journal that gathered information from surveys in various countries to research on the financial costs women pay to reach abortion clinics not provided to them. From analyzing these assessments, these researchers from Berkeley University discovered how women usually travel far out of their area, or in some cases country, due to strict religious laws that does not provide access to abortion facilities.

Furthermore, Walker and the other researcher’s survey focus immensely on America to bring awareness of how women struggle financially to gain access to these clinics due to specific state laws despite the country being the most progressive on abortion rights. This journal is an important aspect of my research since it addresses the financial burdens women suffer to gain access to these resources, thus shining on a critical issue the media avoids in preference of the popular discussion of legalizing or not legalizing the medical practice.

Even if the debate of criminalizing or decriminalizing abortion lasts for fifty years, it does not solve a serious concern millions of women experience as they try to seek medical help that is unknown to them. Rather than listening to politicians argue about whether Pro-Life or Pro-Choice is better for society, news stations should invite specialists that can educate families of how to gain access to abortion clinics in every state and the possible healthcare plans available for women unable to pay the expensive costs. If news stations withhold information of Pro-Life laws passed in states, it can cause serious problems for families that seek the medical guidance not available to them.

Proposed Methodology


In the beginning, I was fascinated to discover how news media portrays Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice differently to Americans. Analyzing various scholarly journals, I wished to analyze what type of research the authors incorporated into their study and how it affected their outcomes. Furthermore, I was interested in examining statistical data and interviews that describe how women view abortion differently based on factors such as age, sex, race, and social status groups. Key similarities I found between all of these scholarly journals centered on incorporating both qualitative and quantitative research to examine the subject at hand and studying women of all age groups to gain an open-minded evaluation of the topic.

While I do agree with their methods, I personally believe they restricted their studies since it always focused on a specific area to interview women, thus limiting their options and not providing diversity in their findings. Therefore, I prefer qualitative research that aims on interviewing women of all age groups in different states to receive wide-ranging and unique answers. The general aim of my project aims to understand the participant’s view of abortion and how they see it presented in news media.

While interviews provide the opportunity to have personal and descriptive responses, the participants might feel nervous in the discussion and resort to providing answers that are not truthful or they are unaware that they are avoiding the question. If I were to use quantitative research, I would receive answers that are straightforward yet not descriptive. My goal of this research aims to gather information from women and their personal beliefs of abortion. Giving a short quiz about the topic to my participants could limit my opportunities to understand their thoughts and opinions of the subject. Thus, I favor qualitative research for the reward and danger of collecting intriguing replies.


Due to the advancement of technology and medicine, women have access to medical assistance that was impossible hundreds of years ago. If a woman in the seventh century became pregnant, she was forced to bear the child. This is not the case today. Nowadays, there are dozens of abortion clinics that work with the patient’s budget, schedule an appointment, and find a doctor available to perform the activity. While abortion itself is simple and private to the individual, the subject of the procedure has always become an enormous argument over moral and ethical rights. This intense argument over legalizing or not legalizing abortion is what news stations thrive for in their industry.

The whole concept of my research aims to understand how news media portrays Pro-Life verses Pro-Choice to families around America. News stations do not broadcast new healthcare plans that work with the patient’s budget or abortion clinics provided around a specific state since it is easily accessible to the public. At the end of the day, news stations seek passionate and controversial debates that do not provide a solid solution.

Rather than educating the public of resource centers that can inform women struggling to gain access to abortion, broadcasters will invite advocates of both abortion sides to argue endlessly on the same topic of allowing abortion to society or not, thus increasing viewer ratings and profit. Furthermore, news stations can manipulate information presented on screen by choosing specific subjects that will have more success in ratings, thus limiting important information to oblivious families. Overall, there is no right or wrong side to choose in the abortion issue. If anything, it is news stations fault for restricting access of knowledge to families in pursuit of wealth, fame, and acceptance from society.

Diversity is a crucial factor for my research experiment. To gather a variety of diverse women with different sex, race, age, and social status, I aim to focus my project on numerous states. To illustrate, I would gather participants of all ages in states like California, Idaho, Wisconsin, Texas, Kentucky, Florida, and Pennsylvania. The reason why I would expand my study all over America focuses on my desire to gather different responses based on an individual’s unique environment and society. If I were to focus on one specific state, I would be manipulating my research by choosing participants that were raised with similar ideologies and background.

Therefore, it is important to branch out my study to become an open-minded researcher to recognize how women all over America view abortion. In the interviews, I would ask numerous questions focusing on how their background has affected their view of abortion presented in news media. How has your social status changed your view of abortion? If school institutions did not educate you of the process of abortion and the resources provided around your area, would you seek news media to educate you of this crucial knowledge? How has your age and sex affected your view of abortion presented in news stations?

Subjects for Study

Throughout this study, I have mentioned multiple times how women of all age groups are the center focus of my research when analyzing how news media portrays Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice to American society. To grasp the concept of my research, it only makes sense I interview women from different age, sex, race, and social status groups to gather descriptive responses. It is not difficult to find participants for this research since it is very broad and open topic to the public.

Since I decided to use qualitative research, I will focus on non-probability experiments involving quota sampling to differentiate women that promote Pro-Life beliefs from women supporting Pro-Choice. First, I will invite a variety of women to participate in the research. Once I have found a large cast of people, I will separate them into groups based on their political beliefs. When this is established, I will ask them a series of questions about how news stations present the topic of abortion on screen and note down similar or different responses between the two groups. This is why I chose quota sampling compared to the other non-probability sampling methods. By choosing a specific sex and ideology to study, I open a door to possibilities of examining women with different beliefs of abortion.

Even though the debate of abortion is an intriguing topic to discuss, some participants are reluctant to share their opinions in fear of their identity leaking to the public. To ease their worries, I promise them confidentiality where I keep their name and appearance anonymous. While their background is an important aspect to comprehend their beliefs on the issue, I will keep the information private for research purposes. If an individual does not mind expressing their identity to the public, I would provide them a contract where they fully acknowledge the guidelines of the research and the steps taken to guarantee the participant’s security and happiness.


What all of these researchers have in common is that they seek to analyze and understand how news media portrays Pro-Life and Pro-Choice differently to American families. There is no right or wrong side to choose in the argument. Every person has a right to his or her own opinion of abortion. Rather, my focus aims on how news stations promote or limit important knowledge of abortion to families in pursuit of viewer ratings and profit. After reading various scholarly journals, there are key similarities that strengthen my theory that news stations prioritize one political group over another to increase popularity and sales.

First, news stations broadcast and publish dozens of articles supporting abortion since it is what the market desires to view and hear consistently. Even if these news stations have never explicitly expressed their opinions on abortion, they will focus immensely on Pro-Choice since that is what majority of customers seek to watch and read. This will lead to news stations ignoring Pro-Life activities and laws passed in specific states for profit and popularity, thereby limiting families of valuable information towards Pro-Life actions established in specific states that can affect their lives.

Second, these scholarly journals reveal a large factor of women believe abortion is important in society and therefore must be available at all times to families. Even if it these women of different social status express their concern about how abortion is offered, they believe it is a crucial aspect they cannot live without in case of emergencies. Lastly, news stations focus on popular debates of legalizing or not legalizing abortion for viewer ratings and sales. This can lead to devastating consequences for women seeking abortion yet they are not educated enough to understand the medical clinics provided in certain areas of their state.

If I were to research how news media portrays Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice to Americans, I would use qualitative research where I interview a variety of women to gain unique and descriptive answers of how they view abortion presented by these news stations. I would invite participants of all age, sex, ethnicity, and social status groups to volunteer in the experiment. Also, I would conduct my research in multiple states around America to gather different responses that have a difference in environment and society. I would use quota sampling to separate the participants’ political beliefs into groups and analyze all similar or different answers.

While I do expect to find a small factor of women opposed to abortion, majority of women will agree that abortion is necessary in society since it is a last resort for individuals who are not emotionally and financially ready to raise a child. While I do lack the quantitative research of short quizzes to gather quick and straightforward answers, qualitative research of interviews and quota sampling design provide the opportunity for me to understand the participant’s passionate opinions on a personal level.

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Even if I do gain the opportunity to gather intriguing responses, there is always a chance participants may provide inaccurate answers out of nervousness of the interview. Nevertheless, it is important to gather all types of answers to understand how women view Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice in news media. Overall, my research will enlighten readers of how abortion is a crucial factor of society that affects how news media portrays information to its viewers. It is important to broadcast Pro-Life and Pro-Choice activities to families to make them more aware of what is going on in their society and what they can do to change or promote it.

Work Cited

  1. Barr-Walker, J., Jayaweera, R. T., Ramirez, A. M., & Gerdts, C. (2019). Experiences of women who travel for abortion: A mixed methods systematic review. PLoS ONE, 14(4), e0209991. Retrieved from
  2. Byrne, Jeb (1991). The News Media & Abortion: Where Objectivity Fails. Commonweal, 601-604. Retrieved from
  3. Graham, T. (2003). Pro-choice tilt? The World & I, 18(10), 62-67. Retrieved from
  4. Swope, P. F. (1999). SPEAKING OF ABORTION: TELEVISION AND AUTHORITY IN THE LIVES OF WOMEN. First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, 67. Retrieved from
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Media Portrayal Of Pro-Life Versus Pro-Choice To Americans. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 14, 2024, from
“Media Portrayal Of Pro-Life Versus Pro-Choice To Americans.” GradesFixer, 18 Mar. 2021,
Media Portrayal Of Pro-Life Versus Pro-Choice To Americans. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 14 Jun. 2024].
Media Portrayal Of Pro-Life Versus Pro-Choice To Americans [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Mar 18 [cited 2024 Jun 14]. Available from:
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