Blogger’s Abortion Article Sparks Controversy

    June 1, 2011
    Josh Wolford

An article published on last Thursday has been making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook due to it’s highly polarizing nature. The article, entitled “Abortion Saved My Life,” has drawn the attention of people on each side of the spectrum.

And let’s be fair – this is a volatile subject with both fierce proponents and fierce opposition. So any attempt to mince worlds and downplay the political and religious charge behind the issue of abortion would be a disservice. it makes sense, then, to identify the affiliations of the main two parties involved in sparking the controversy: The author of the story is Mikki Kendall, a self described “loudmouthed liberal.” The main disputer is Jill Stanek, a pro-life writer for NewsBusters, whose tagline is “exposing & combating liberal media bias.”

In the original article, “Abortion Saved My Life,” Kendall relives the incredibly frightening story of the say when something went wrong with her pregnancy. Kendall says that she woke up bleeding profusely in what turned out to be a placental abruption.

Kendall claims that the doctor on call at the Chicago hospital where she went refused to perform the necessary abortion to save her life. She says that she was saved, after hours of neglect, by another doctor who was called in later. Here are some excerpts from the article:

Everyone knew the pregnancy wasn’t viable, that it couldn’t be viable given the amount of blood I was losing, but it still took hours for anyone at the hospital to do anything. The doctor on call didn’t do abortions. At all. Ever. In fact, no one on call that night did.

A very kind nurse risked her job to call a doctor from the Reproductive Health Clinic who was not on call, and asked her to come in to save my life. Fortunately she was home, and got there relatively quickly. By the time she arrived, I was in bad shape. The blood loss had rendered me nearly incoherent, but she still moved me to a different wing and got me the painkillers no one else had during the screaming hours I’d spent in the hospital.

The doctor who didn’t do abortions was supposed to have contacted her (or someone else who would perform the procedure) immediately. He didn’t. Neither did his students. Supposedly there was a communication breakdown and they thought she had been notified, but I doubt it. I don’t know if his objections were religious or not; all I know is that when a bleeding woman was brought to him for treatment he refused to do the only thing that could stop the bleeding. Because he didn’t do abortions. Ever.

A story of this nature is obviously going to catch fire, and it did, spreading across social media outlets and in my experience, causing quite the debate on Facebook and Twitter.

An article posted yesterday to the NewsBusters site questions the veracity of Kendall’s story. In the article Jill Stanek discusses the “red flag” of the doctor who would simply let a woman die:

There were many red flags. But the biggest was Kendall’s claim that a doctor was willing to let her bleed to death after she presented with placental abruption, because he knew treatment would result in her baby’s death, a nonviable 20-weeker. This made no sense, particularly knowing nontreatment would ensure both the mother and baby died.

Stanek’s main point of contention, the one that prompts the summary that Kendall “admitted her story was a big, fat, fabricated lie,” is based on a blog post made by Kendall on Sunday. The words by Kendall in question are:

Some say I should name and shame the doctor that refused to do the procedure. If I knew why he refused I might have done just that, but since I know that there are many possible reasons that he did not do it? I’ve left him to deal with the internal procedures in place.

Stanek points to this statement as an admission by Kendall of embellishing or entirely fabricating her story. The reason for the emphasis on that particular statement is a little confusing. Even a commenter on NewsBusters who ultimately agrees with Stanek points this out:

I re-read this article and still missed where the lie(s) was proven. There are accusations, rebuttals, and very dubious statements made by Kendall but no admission or proof of lying that I can tell.

Mikki Kendal had this to say on her blog:

Lastly, no I wasn’t paid by Salon or anyone else to write that post. It’s not fiction…Hard concept to grasp for some, but this post wasn’t about revenge or money. It was about me coming to terms with what happened and about my disdain for a particular pro-life argument. Believe it, don’t believe it. That’s up to you. My life will go on either way.

Kendall (@Karnythia) has been battling with Stanek (@JillStanek) and “pro-life feminist” Sarah Mindek (@SarahMindek) on Twitter:

@_Ashbet_ I suspect that even with the records in front of her @JillStanek would still try to twist reality to suit her own agenda.(image) 18 hours ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto

@SarahMindek I was in the middle of a miscarriage when I needed an abortion. You want to proselytize? Do it somewhere else. I’m #prochoice.(image) 14 hours ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto

So @SarahMindek called me a bitch for blocking her spamming. I forgot bigots don’t believe people like me deserve boundaries. #prochoice(image) 4 hours ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto

Don’t look now, @Karnythia, but your embellished @Salon #abortion story has made @Drudge_Report #prolife #prochoice(image) 18 hours ago via HootSuite · powered by @socialditto

@Karnythia idk why you consider my tweets trolling. You wrote a public article. I’m responding. Don’t like it, don’t write articles????(image) 14 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone · powered by @socialditto

Hmmm… @JillStanek was right but shes still a lying evil anti-choicer? That’s classy. #prolife(image) 3 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone · powered by @socialditto

Stanek also charges with negligence for running the article, saying it wasn’t properly vetted and urging the site to retract it. This kind of topic can spark debate about media slant and responsibility and it’s proper to acknowledge that slant happens on both sides of the political spectrum.

Mikki Kendall is a blogger whose personal account of an event was co-opted by and run as a guest story. Was Salon pushing a pro-choice agenda by running the article? Or did they simply run what they felt was an interesting story?

Does Kendall’s story sound believable to you? Are Stanek and NewsBusters creating a controversy to push a pro-life agenda? Or did Kendall admit that she embellished the original story? Let us know what you think.