- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2018

The media appear more than willing to cover student walkouts — unless, of course, the students are protesting abortion.

The major television networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — did not mention Wednesday’s pro-life student walkout in their nightly news shows, according to the Media Research Center.

Last month, those networks’ news programs gave more than 10 minutes of airtime to the anti-gun walkout on the one-month anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said she wasn’t surprised by the lack of coverage.

“It’s unfortunate that the media did not attempt to fairly portray the #ProLifeWalkout, given the fact that this generation is directly targeted by Planned Parenthood and their abortion industry allies for our business,” Ms. Hawkins said in a statement. “No one is surprised that media bias is so obvious when it comes to abortion. People who are passionate about the life issue, about mothers and their preborn infants, know that the media doesn’t like to cover this human rights atrocity.”

Students at 191 high schools and 81 colleges were listed as participants in Wednesday’s pro-life walkout. They left their classrooms for 17 minutes to honor “the 10 children who will violently die during that time at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility.”

Students for Life said more than 400 students and student organizations contacted them for support prior to the walkout.

Pro-life activists say the media blackout is further evidence that abortion is not covered in good faith.

According to the Media Research Center, the anti-gun March for Our Lives received 13 times more coverage than the pro-life March for Life this year. The pro-choice Women’s March also received more than three times the coverage of its pro-life counterpart.

There was also evidence of a double standard in how schools administered the pro-life walkout.

Brandon Gillespie, the student at Rocklin High School in California who spearheaded the pro-life walkout, said his school went out of its way to accommodate the anti-gun protests but failed to give the same deal to pro-life students.

Although pro-life students were not punished for protesting, he said.

“I really was not surprised when they told me that they were not going to give me the accommodations and that they were not going to sanction this walkout as they did the previous one,” Mr. Gillespie said in a statement. “It just confirms for me that there is a political double standard, at least in my school district, but I’m still going to be out there.”

Alexandra Snyder, executive director of Life Legal, said the school’s behavior was a “blatant case of content discrimination and arbitrary favoritism.”

“Rocklin High School’s decision treats the Pro-life Walkout differently than the way the school treated the gun walkout, which violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection rights of every student participating in the Pro-life walkout,” she said.

The pro-life walkout began when Julianne Benzel, a history teacher at Rocklin High School, asked her class whether students protesting abortion would be given the same treatment as students protesting gun violence.

When word of the conversation got to the Rocklin High School administration, Ms. Benzel was placed on leave.

Mr. Gillespie, one of Ms. Benzel’s students, took the thought experiment seriously and launched the pro-life walkout.

Ms. Hawkins thanked Mr. Gillespie for “inspiring this national walkout and for not letting his school intimidate him out of hosting his walkout.”

“The tremendous, truly grass-roots interest we have seen in the walkout is further proof that the Pro-Life Generation is the majority and is strong and growing,” she said.

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