Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2001 / 13 Shevat, 5761

Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Is nothing sacred? -- COUNT ME OUT of the newest addition to "reality television" --- this morning's live broadcast of women giving birth on ABC's "Good Morning America" show.

It's not just that my baby, (my fourth), has more than four months to go before it's born, meaning I'm not even a candidate for the producers desperately hoping for one or more little ones to make an appearance within their two-hour broadcast that morning.

It's just that I tend to think like my dear departed mother who would have sighed and wondered aloud - "is nothing sacred"?

Yes, giving birth is an amazing, incredible, event. But let's face it - it's very intimate, or at least it should be, and it's totally undignified. I'm never completely thrilled about sharing the experience even with the nurses and doctor involved, nor am I crazy about my husband seeing me all splayed about in unattractive poses immersed in various strange bodily fluids. ( This time I hope to successfully ban him from most of the blessed event.) So why on earth would I want to share this little miracle with millions of strangers sitting in their living rooms and sipping their Folger's?

Yet "Good Morning America" executive producer Shelley Ross told me that, as the show is chronicling in lead-ups to the birthing broadcast, the trend is to have more not fewer people in the birthing room. And not just husbands, but other children, in-laws, you name it. One obstetrician who will be involved in Tuesday's event said he even once had a patient who invited her church congregation to the birth - and he allowed it.

So I suppose I can understand why in the quest for ever-greater television drama (and during a ratings-sweeps period) ABC would attempt this feat which Ross described to me as the "broadcast of an everyday miracle." I can even understand why some curious onlookers, likely the same folks who get all teary when they watch "Oprah" every day, would tune in.

What I cannot understand is the women who agree to have the birth of their babies broadcast to millions of people they don't know, courtesy of a group of strange cameramen and producers actually in the room with them. Maybe it's a desire for their Andy Warhol "15-minutes of fame," but has the move toward exhibitionism really come to this? Has the desire to share every intimate detail of our lives with complete strangers really gone this far?

Ross told me that while the broadcast of the births will not be "graphic" (I suppose that depends on your definition of the word) ABC medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman guaranteed her one thing -- "a lot of yelling."

Well I wouldn't be surprised if the folks at GMA find that more than one birthing-mom regrets her decision to display such an intimate moment on national television and starts "yelling" at the camera crew to get lost in mid-broadcast.

Of course the couples who do agree to be camera fodder will probably rationalize it by saying that they wanted to show people who might otherwise never see a birth as it happens how miraculous it really is when a new baby comes into the world. Fair enough, perhaps, but if we need to actually see a baby being born to know how precious and special that child is we've become pretty hardened indeed.

In fact that's really the irony here. A nation where millions of people will be tuning in to the national broadcast of the incredibly intimate moment of birth, which advocates seeing such a miracle in action, which is so eager to term the whole experience "beautiful," is also a nation where that same woman with that same doctor could legally end that child's life just moments before it is born with a partial-birth abortion. And no "politically correct" person could dare utter a word in protest.

How much less could that "politically correct" person defend the life of that unborn child when it was created nine months earlier, or anywhere else along its journey to what our elite suddenly deem "miraculous" and "beautiful" -- only once the parents have decided to allow the baby to be born. For me, I don't need to wait until June when my baby is expected, or share the intimate, graphic, undignified and yes, very wonderful birth with millions of strangers, to know that the little one I'm carrying is already a very special miracle.

JWR contributor Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.


01/30/01: Moral bankruptcy of the civil rights establishment
01/16/01: Who are the truly 'ugly' ones?
01/10/01: The extent to which our culture has been feminized
01/02/01: It's gettin' better all the time
12/20/00: Now that the head banging has stopped ....
12/13/00: TV keeps giving us the bad dad
12/01/00: Sorriest legacy of election has nothing to do with chads, 'aborted pregnancies' or the electoral college
12/01/00: Giving 'sleepovers' a new meaning
11/20/00: The Dems' pathetic craving for power
11/14/00: A potentially fateful indication of Gore's mindset
11/07/00: What do women really want?
10/24/00: Spare the rod ...
10/19/00: Gore is a liar --- period
10/12/00: Making the case for marriage
09/28/00: "Mommy, what's abortion?"
09/20/00: Gay righters no longer seek just tolerance but endorsement
09/14/00: The stupidity of smart growth
09/07/00: It takes more than a kiss
08/30/00: Helping out at school is more than an obligation
08/24/00: Family time comes far down the summer schedule
08/16/00: A tale of two wives
08/09/00: The Brady Bill isn't achieving its aim
08/01/00: Attention feminists: How to really keep our daughters safe
07/25/00: Everything is protective: the parents, the gear, the age
07/18/00: Say it ain't so, Ann
07/11/00: Limiting a child's choices
07/06/00: Accounting for your health
06/21/00: It's a bad time to be a boy in America
06/13/00: The state of our unions
06/02/00: Federalizing care of kids
05/17/00: The natural food threat
05/09/00: To stop gun violence, keep families intact
05/03/00: Pass the fat, please
04/25/00: Something just for boys
04/18/00: When toleration goes too far
04/10/00: Women warriors
04/05/00: Confessions of a soccer mom
03/30/00: Getting an education about schools
03/22/00: If you're a parent, act like one!
03/14/00: Not child advocates, but self-advocates
03/06/00: McCain not what he seemed at first
02/29/00: An effective answer to social problems
02/22/00: The feminists' newest target: Toys
02/06/00: Harassing the harassers
01/31/00: It doesn't take a village to raise a child --- it takes a scheduler
01/25/00: Psuedo science and global warming
01/18/00: Socially responsible nonsense
01/10/00: Monica may be onto something
12/27/99: Sometimes it matters quite a lot what government thinks
12/17/99: Teens have no inherent 'right to privacy'
12/10/99: Buying a minivan and tossing the SUV
12/03/99: On the mommy track
11/05/99:The waste of recycling
11/01/99: Welcome to Harvard pre-school
10/22/99: No disaster for women that Dole is out
10/19/99: 'Humanitarian' hypocrites
10/15/99: On a first-name basis with a three-year-old

© 2001, Scripps Howard News Service