When Reporter’s Biases Attack

When you are a reporter for a news entity like the Associated Press, you’re expected to keep your everyday biases out of your work.  But it appears that writer Ben Nuckols may have let his slip a bit on a recent story about New Jersey abortion doctor Stephen Brigham. 

In an article about Brigham, who is accused of initiating illegal second trimester abortions in the state of New Jersey, Nuckols wrote:

The abortion business can be lucrative for the relatively few doctors who perform the procedure regularly, according to research by the Guttmacher Institute. The median price in 2005 for an abortion at 10 weeks was $430, and at 20 weeks, when the procedure is more complicated, it was $1,260, the Guttmacher Institute found.

Now the Associated Press has issued the following correction:

In a Sept. 9 story about an abortion doctor, The Associated Press erroneously reported that the Guttmacher Institute said the abortion business can be lucrative. The Guttmacher Institute provided costs for abortions but did not say the business could be lucrative.

Erroneous?  Or just one writer’s opinion stuck into his “hard news” story?

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  • stacey-burns

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, “in very marked contrast to most other medical procedures, the cost of abortion has risen less than inflation.” What other comparable medical procedure costs less in real dollars in 2010 than it did in 1970?

  • mechashiva

    My office had a chart that compared the price patients pay (or that gets reimbursed to us by insurance) to the actual cost of providing an abortion.


    First trimester abortions cost patients anywhere from $450-$600, depending on the type of anesthesia used. The actual cost to provide that abortion was $1000-$1200. I don’t remember the numbers for second trimester abortions, but it was amazing to me how much of a loss the clinic actually takes, and I wondered how on earth we stayed in business. Then, I looked at my paycheck.


    Employees at abortion-providing clinics, non-profit and private offices alike, make around half of what they could make doing the same job in a different kind of clinic. Employees are paid very little and generally given no benefits so that clinics can afford to keep their prices low enough for low-income patients and those without insurance. My company hadn’t increased salaries or given pay raises in over 10 years so that they would be able to minimize the rising costs of providing healthcare. As it is, the recession caused the company to close two of its clinics.


    The “abortion industry” is not profitable for anyone involved. It’s something that is done out of conviction, not greed.

  • alisa

    This is what concerns me about the dying print media industry. They have cut back staff so much, no one is there to catch that stuff. Then, I wonder how many times that AP story was printed, as is, by newspapers without their own ability to report and edit stories.