Abortion is the termination of a human pregnancy. Or it is the removal of a fetus or embryo before its maturity inside the uterus. It is mostly done during the first twenty-eight weeks of gestation. An abortion may occur spontaneously, and it is referred to as a miscarriage. It can be deliberately done and often referred to as induced miscarriage or induced abortion. Abortion has been a contentious matter in many societies through history on moral, ethical, religious and political grounds. It led to the creation of laws that prohibit it conduct. Abortion is a social problem because it is perceived as religiously unholy or ungodly, religious people see it as murder and destruction of God’s creation and gift.
Socially, it is morally and ethically wrong. It is also a source of shame and guilt that would make one judged by the society. Sociologists argue that it takes away the natural right of life from a person. Legally abortion is considered murder unless it is medically advised.
Media is communication means through which news, data, education, entertainment, or promotional messages. It includes all narrowcasting and broadcasting the medium such as television, newspapers, billboards, magazines, internet among others. Media is tools that are used to store and convey information. Media is an important aspect of society. It has made communicating progressively easier throughout history. Today media is used in almost everything in society from schools where students’ use media as sources of education, to governments, generally media in its various forms contribute a large lot in societal matters.
Abortion and the Media
The press coverage of abortion has tended to be biased leaning on the abortion rights side. Most coverage done on newspapers and magazine tend to showcase protestors of abortion rights compared to coverage of adverse outcomes of abortion. Abortion rights are rights that quantify the necessity or the need for legalizing or acceptance of abortion in the society. These rights advocate for proper medical abortions done on request of the victim or the mother of the child. They believe that the choice of terminating a pregnancy lies with the carrier and the state, or the law should not infringe that choice. These abortion rights are however controversial to different societies and thus not accepted widely making abortion an issue that is debatable. The media involvement in the abortion debate normally should be fair and unbiased.
Research comprehensively done by Times Study in the US show that the news media uses language and images that favor the abortion rights advocates, they are frequently quoted more than their opponents and sometimes events held to rally anti-abortion are minimally covered or given attention by the media. The research goes ahead to point out that many news organizations have given more protuberant play to stories on rallies and legislative and electoral victories by abortion rights as compared to their opponents. This biasedness, however, may be done subconsciously because it's the nature of the media to air more on social issues and problems to give them adequate attention for the solution to be necessitated. Ignoring them or would create little care and awareness and solving them would take longer and little force would be applied in solutions
An example of media coverage of abortion is the case study done on world’s major cable news networks, the CNN, Fox News, and M SNBC from January 2015 to March 2016 on their prime-time segments about abortion showed that there was a lack of objectivity and complete accuracy on reports made on air. One common observation made was most guests, or hosts who talked about abortion were male creating a gender biasedness as the issue mostly affects female sex thus leading to inaccuracies about reproductive debate and abortion. Another observation made was an unfair representation of abortion rights advocates and opponents in those forums or discussions that were studied.
They also noted that effects of abortion on societies and individuals were remotely covered rather discussions centered most of the debates. Journalists make another assumption of opponents of abortion which they regard them as religious fanatics, though they do not openly agree to this. Most of the media’s perception of opponents of abortion points them out as conservatives. The research showed that the press eliminated some truths in their coverage of abortion and covered what they determined was important in the abortion debate. It is because those forums and discussion that were analyzed had been prepared by the media and the guest speakers would only pass their opinions on the matters that were tabled. The media played a larger role in the debates, allowing the case study to exclude the views of the guest speakers for the sake of accuracy in determining the media as mentioned above cables coverage on abortion.
Impact of media on People’s Perception on Abortion
The media plays a significant role in how people perceive issues since it is one of the main sources of information to the public. What people learn from the media tends to be a truth in the society. People have a tendency of trusting the media, and that is why most media companies work hard to gain first-hand information on issues. The media as expressed previously seems biased in coverage of abortion. Though the examples given above are from the US, they represent most media organizations from all over the world who be likely to bias the abortion activists over their opponents. In the past years as abortion as rising as an international social problem, media coverage of abortion was minimal compared to recent times. Thus, abortion did not have the vast laws on it as it does now. Most countries had not formulated laws against it or to regulate abortion. The public as well had a negative perception towards abortion and was seen as a social vice that should not be practiced. The press with time continued to air about it making it a common vice that needed attention to handling it. Press expressed its dangers and effects it had on both the individual directly affected and the society as a whole. This created massive awareness of abortion worldwide to a point that international organization such as the United Nations to get involved in the solving of this social evil. Though other important factors played in in the sequence of events that lead to the current laws and ways of deterring abortion practice, the media was one of the major factors.
The mass media was part of a chronology that helped in arriving at the current measures taken against abortion. Today it continues to play a part on issues to do with abortion. Currently, the major concerns with abortion are whether it should be a choice, or it is still a social evil. Some activists advocate for abortion being a choice and should be allowed to be properly medically performed as this would reduce its adverse effects on a person and the society in general. There are also another group of individuals, who still believe abortion to be evil, and it should never be legally accepted and only when medically necessary should it happen.
The media comes in here influencing what most people perceive of it, according to what has been previously learned, the media tends to lie on the pro-choice side of it and this could influence the future generations to come since they would grow up having the same perception. The continued stereotyping of abortion opponents is what will affect the future audience opinion.
The press plays significant roles on social problems. What they portray of those issues is what the general public will eventually come to terms with. The media has some positive effects on social problems and other adverse effects. Media can create a social vice and help in its construction of audiences and also can play a part in preventing acceleration of another.
In the current world with increasing pluralisation of media sources and globalization of world cultures, the media has more impact on social evils than it did in the past. Its effects have greater impacts and on a larger margin or people than before. An example is an impact on abortion as discussed, countries like the underdeveloped ones ended up adopting or emulating laws as those of the United Nations or other non-state international actors. The awareness spread through media facilitated this.
Analysis of the media on morality and ethics determine the public's analysis on evils that face the society. It applies to religious issues and politically based problems that affect the community.
Media's perception will change people's view, but not everyone's, and that causes another problem to stem out resulting to contending groups coming up against each other to air their opinions and seek different solutions. For instance, as seen on the abortion issue, the pro-choice activists, and their adversaries. The media, therefore, takes a significant determinant locus on social vices, their development, and solution. It affects how big an issue arises, how people perceive it and what sides' different people take and to an extent how the governments handle those issues as well. Social vices or evils crop from the people and are accelerated or infringed by the media together with other factors different to each evil, but media is constant, its take affects all kinds of social problems on various levels and with different inputs too.
The influence media has on social problems currently is affected on a higher level by the freedom it has earned over time. The press has itself gone through development that allows it to be such a crucial player on societal matters. As discussed earlier media plays a big lot in society therefore has significant power in the society to determine a lot.