Catlan Sardina: The Supreme Court leaked opinion on Roe v. Wade and the journalists who covered it



This week the U.S. Supreme Court had a significant information leak of a draft opinion on a continuing case. The draft opinion strongly suggests that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the precedence of the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973.

Read: Leak shows Supreme Court is overturning Roe vs. Wade

Much ink has already been spilled over the moral implications of both the original Roe v. Wade decision and the potential for a different decision in the coming months. I do not intend to pour more ink into the moral discussion, even though I hold a strong moral opinion on this very significant matter.

What I would like to address is the choice of narrative used by journalists covering the subject. In my past life I was a psychological operations officer in the U.S. Army. That often meant that I was a propagandist. There is a stark difference between propaganda and journalism. The purpose of propaganda is influence. The purpose of journalism is to inform.

The gold standard for American journalism has traditionally fallen to the Associated Press. Most of the news coverage in the modern media market is sourced in the original coverage offered by the Associated Press, then regurgitated and critiqued by the highly opinioned semi-news agencies. The Associated Press failed in its coverage of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion.

Read the AP coverage of the incident referenced in this column at this link.

There are two specific phrases within the article that unfortunately transformed journalistic coverage into loaded semi-propaganda.

The first, and more significant of the two phrases is found in the second paragraph of the article, “the language that would end the constitutional right to an abortion.” This phrase is a missed opportunity to correct an unfortunate narrative surrounding both this topic and the general coverage of the Supreme Court. The judiciary does not grant or remove constitutional rights. The judiciary reviews laws and circumstances, then deems whether the circumstances or law are constitutional or unconstitutional already.

If abortion is a constitutional right, the Supreme Court will find justification within the U.S. Constitution to maintain the opinion of Roe v. Wade. If abortion is not a right protected in the U.S. Constitution, then it is not a constitutional right. This finding should be amoral and based solely on the language and intent of the legal framework. If the Supreme Court finds a matter to fall outside the Constitution, the Tenth Amendment holds that the matter is no longer a federal concern but falls to the states.

The Supreme Court should not evaluate the morality of Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court should make a decision based upon the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade. Unless something very dramatic has changed in the powers of the judiciary, they will not grant or end any constitutional rights any time soon.

The Associated Press’s decision to use this phrase has furthered the emotional charge against the direction of the Supreme Court. If I had been as crafty as these journalists when I was a propagandist, I may have been better at my Army psychological operations career.

The second journalistic misstep was at least reserved for later in the article. The article states, “The daily rituals unfolded as they always do: protesters screamed at people walking inside.” At first I thought this may have been a quote by a frustrated abortion services provider. I was surprised to find that this characterization was done by the journalists, not an interviewee. I’m sure that protesters scream outside of abortion clinics. I’m sure that at times protesters scream at people walking inside a clinic. I would however not attach such a loaded generalization to all protesters of abortion clinics.

This characterization denies the opportunity for a reader to form their own opinion of the matter at hand. If protesters of abortion services are screaming at innocent people, they must be the villain in this story.

If you wonder why many conservatives accuse the media of taking the side of liberals, look no further than the coverage of this event. Rebecca Santana, Emily Wagster Pettus, Claire Galofaro, and their editors should revisit their journalistic purpose. They must consider their journalistic integrity. I long to be informed; I could only wish to be given the opportunity to let my influence-guard down for the occasional article.

Catlan Sardina is a pastor who writes in his own capacity.


  1. Well written Catlan: Journalistic integrity no longer exists and those journalists don’t care. Also they don’t understand the separation of powers, nor do they care, because they assume nobody else does either. So they can twist the nuances and get away with it. What a sad state we have come to

  2. Women’s reproductuve “rights” are hard to prove and disprove if one cannot even define what a woman is, per se. Just for starters.

  3. Roe v Wade strikes a powerful blow to proponents of both sides of the issue. I find it very difficult to move beyond the moral code with regard to determining the degree of onus the public and the Supreme Court have in determining whether the practice of selective and elective abortion should continue.
    As a compassionate human being, I support researching at what point the unborn, developing fetus begins to perceive pain. PubMed cites a very few articles that investigate this phenomenon, and not from the perspective of whether to abort, but rather, at what stage of development a fetus begins to perceive pain such that prenatal surgery should address the need for fetal anesthesia.
    While I personally abhor the idea of shredding an unquestionably human being to bits, and sucking its parts and fluids out through a bloody vacuum tube, or in the case of an older fetus too big for the tube, to eviscerate, enucleate and rend limb from limb, the idea that pain perception should be an overriding consideration in whether and how to abort is one I intuitively embrace. Crudely, if you’re going to slaughter unborn human babies, at least provide sufficient pain relief and induce unconsciousness to mitigate the horrific and extreme cruelty of ripping it to pieces for any reason. To do anything less is truly inhumane and supports a diabolical motivation.

  4. Great journalism. Perhaps a few investigative reporters should pull up some old articles on why Planned Parenthood is a proponent of “late term” abortions. These sick people are harvesting baby parts for profit. Two investigative journalists in California were charged with 15 felony counts for exposing Planned Parenthood via undercover videos. Kamala Harris had a hand in the biased charges. Truth always has a way of surfacing. If people read the draft SCOTUS opinion, they will discover there IS NO constitutional basis for the right to abortion. Reading the opinion further you discover how the ruling should not have been done in the first place. This means it goes back to the states where it belongs in the first place. Beware of NGOs (non-government organizations) trying to stir the pot to start a color revolution in America just like what happened in Ukraine. Watch Oliver Stone’s Ukraine on Fire…it is an eye-opener on how deep the corruption goes.

  5. Integrity in journalism is long gone. May as well read the National inquirer. At some point soon this will bite all involved right in the butt.

    • Unfortunately I think you are right, real journalism can no longer be found in the MSM, sites like this one are the only places it exists anymore.

  6. Ever since 2011 almost all “news coverage” has been state paid propaganda. Under Obama’s shuck & jive administration the CIA asked for, and was granted, license to propagandize our domestic population. Prior to that date our leaders were, at least in statute, prohibited from such practices. This is why CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, et al can lie through their teeth. They not only enjoy legal protection, they are being paid handsomely with tax payer dollars to spout the official narrative.

Comments are closed.