Holy ghosts in Ohio: Cincinnati Enquirer reports on debate over aborting Down syndrome babies

So often at GetReligion — here, here, here, here and here, for example — we call attention to the mainstream news media's rampant bias in coverage of the abortion issue.

I'm referring, of course, to the longstanding and indisputable problem of news stories heavily favoring the pro-choice side.

But guess what!?

This isn't going to be one of those posts.

In fact, I'm generally impressed with the balanced, factual nature of the Cincinnati Enquirer's story on a Down syndrome abortion ban going to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the former moderate Republican presidential candidate.

I do think, however, that the piece is haunted by ghosts. As regular readers know, we refer to them as "holy ghosts." More on that God-sized hole in the Enquirer's otherwise fine report in a moment.

But first, the compelling lede:

COLUMBUS — When a mother receives the news that her child will be born with Down syndrome, should she have the choice to obtain an abortion?
Ohio's GOP-controlled Legislature says "no." Lawmakers, with a 20-12 vote in the Ohio Senate, sent a bill to Gov. John Kasich that would penalize doctors who perform abortions after a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Kasich said in 2015 that he would sign such a bill. 
The proposed law has sparked division within the Down syndrome community.

OK, so there are folks who disagree. Will the Enquirer quote them? 


Winton Hills' Anne Chasser told lawmakers she can't imagine life without her younger brother, Christopher, who has Down syndrome. Their family recently celebrated Christopher's 50th birthday with a big reunion near Lake Erie. 
But Chasser, who previously worked as the University of Cincinnati's intellectual property leader and commissioner of trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C., doesn't think state legislators should prohibit abortions based on the diagnosis.
"I believe that a pregnant woman must have the right to choose what is best for her and her family," Chasser told lawmakers at a hearing last month. "This decision should not be made by the government."

And on the other side, yes again:

Kelly Kuhns, of Plain City outside Columbus, supports the bill. Kuhns said she cried for hours when she learned that her youngest son was diagnosed with Down syndrome. But she saw him wiggling during ultrasounds and heard his heartbeat. Her family decided against an abortion.  
"My son Oliver and the other people that have been diagnosed with Down syndrome deserve to live and should not be subjected to the discriminatory practice of selective abortion," she said. 

As I said, it's helpful, solid journalism on the paper's part. 

But back to those ghosts: Often (almost always?) there's a religious reason behind where sources come down on the issue of abortion.

For those quoted in the Enquirer piece, I can't help but wonder whether God and faith are motivating factors. It's a simple question and a highly appropriate one for a story such as this. But this story neglects any mention of religion. 

Ghosts, anyone?

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