Conservatives have regularly accused the media of touting pro-choice sentiment and a recent tidbit sneaked into a New York Times wedding announcement is sure to add fuel to the fire.
While wedding announcements typically focus on uplifting themes surrounding the binding unity of two individuals, the Times’ write-up on the relationship and nuptials of Miami Heat basketball player Udonis Haslem and his new wife, Faith Rein, prominently features the couple’s decision early in their relationship to have an abortion.
The Times story, “Taking Their Very Sweet Time,” begins by recapping how the two met during their college years at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Both athletes, their courtship was a fascinating one and a love story that many couples can surely relate to.
But there’s one portion of the article that has the pro-life community and some bloggers scratching their heads: Haslem and Rein’s decision for Rein to have an abortion emerges about a quarter of the way through.
“Their first challenge took place the following spring when she became pregnant. It was her junior and his senior year, and he had begun training for the N.B.A. draft,” the article reads. “Despite the pregnancy, she was busy with track meets and helping him complete homework. The timing was bad.”
Haslem already had a son, Kedonis, whom he fathered during his high school years, the Times reported, and another baby was not going to work with the financial and personal constraints the two were facing. While Haslem said he is “not a huge fan of abortion,” the two decided that it was the best possible option at the time.
“Udonis appreciated that I was willing to have an abortion,” Rein told the Times. “I found him caring, supportive, nurturing and all over me to be sure I was O.K. I saw another side of him during that difficult time and fell deeply in love. He had a big heart and was the whole package.”
It was this that prompted critics and supporters alike to speak out. On one side is LifeNews.com, a conservative pro-life outlet that regularly covers issues pertaining to abortion. Rather than seeing the abortion mention as endearing, LifeNews said the Times went “overboard.”
“Now the Gray Lady is going overboard with its effusive praise of snuffing out the lives of unborn children by printing a wedding announcement celebrating the abortion Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem’s fiance’ obtained,”LifeNews wrote.
Even pro-choice blogger Eve Vawter registered her surprise at the abortion inclusion. While she supports a woman’s right to choose abortion, she wrote that she felt the mention was inappropriate for a wedding announcement.
“It’s their wedding story and they can discuss whatever they want, but it just seems a bit uncouth to me,” Vawter wrote. “Couldn’t they have done an entirely separate article where they talked all about it?”
Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek weighed in as well, posting the story on her site. One commenter using the name “Cee Five” wrote, “How sweet. They bonded over murdering another human being.”
Feminist site Jezebel took a wildly different take, praising the abortion inclusion as a sign of “progress”:
Signs of real social progress are often very subtle. They ought to be, by nature, since real progress is really a process of normalization. When same-sex marriage doesn’t merit the “same-sex” modifier, for instance, in most mainstream news publications, it’s a signal that most members of our society think beyond the man + woman = monogamous married couple for ever and ever paradigm. Or, when a wedding announcement in the New York Times openly discusses abortion as a difficult yet pragmatic decision a young couple made before they were financially and emotionally ready to have a kid, it’s a signal that a vast majority of Times readers (at the very least) recognize that having an abortion is a completely legitimate option.
It’s a fascinating debate — while critics can certainly hit back at the Times’ handling of abortion, the notion that the couple was merely telling their own, personal story can also be advanced. Still, it’s a different tale than what’s typically told among the inspirational and love-infused words of a wedding announcement.
The Times also noted that the couple had two sons together following the abortion and before their wedding on Aug. 24, 2013. Tell us what you think about the debate in our Blaze poll below.