Chicago Ridge; Illinois — As a journalist, I seek the objective truth of events and regularly avoid articles that I believe I am incapable of writing without bias. Roe vs. Wade, first decided in 1973, was overturned Friday. Regardless of the context of the decision, I, as a person who can get pregnant, have lost rights.
A friend of a friend once posed an inquiry: if the best sources are people who directly experience events or have some involvement, then journalists should be encouraged to pursue personal involvement or bias in the stories they cover. I explained that the sources speak for themselves, and it is not our job to make comments or pass judgment, only to report and catalog the truth in an easily digestible manner.
As a journalist, I had to refuse to write an article about the decision. I see no possibility to write unbiased about abortion rights. On top of that, if I were to become pregnant today, days away from my 20th birthday, I fully believe that my entire life, opportunities and potential would be utterly destroyed.
My body would be permanently altered whether I give the child up for adoption, or not. I would spend 10 grueling months carrying a child I had nothing but bitter resentment for, experiencing sickness, weight gain and many of the other life-altering and severe symptoms that can develop alongside pregnancy. I also could experience social isolation.
Being from Illinois gives me the advantage of abortion being readily accessible and legal, despite the court ruling. However, for those with uteruses in Alabama, Texas, and others, lawmakers are already criminalizing abortion.
Yet, I fear female journalists avoiding articles of this nature will only further the dichotomy in which our voices are silenced and ignored by our governing bodies. It is a difficult line to walk: if I speak about this, I will be accused of bias; if I fall silent, I do not participate in the debate and allow people who do not have a uterus — wholly under qualified — to decide what goes on inside my body, without any objection from me, under the threat of criminal consequence.
I don’t think that if I were to write an article about abortion I couldn’t cover it objectively. I also worry that we are approaching a journalistic environment in which only those separated from the issues cover them, and hence, may miss critical information and align the article in the opposite direction. In pursuit of the truth, bias and privilege influence who we interview and which quotes we use. Yet it is often difficult to remove yourself from the rights you have lost.
As journalists, the most essential item should be the objective truth. However, the demand for bodily autonomy is no longer considered a constitutional right, but a political opinion.