Readers argued it was wrong to highlight that white men voted in the measure. But lack of representation is central to the story
Why, demanded several readers, does this headline refer to race: “These 25 Republicans – all white men – just voted to ban abortion in Alabama.” It was part of the Guardian’s coverage of the southern US state’s new measure. The sole exception to the ban is serious risk to the health of the woman; pregnancies resulting from incest or rape are not excepted. Of the 27 Republican men in Alabama’s 35-seat senate, 25 voted for the law.
Distilled, the readers’ view was that although it was understandable that the headline would emphasise male dominance, it was wrong to highlight race, too. Wrote one: “It detracts and distracts from the real outrage, which is that they’re all male, and they’re all Republican, rather than their skin colour.” Another reader thought that the reference to race implied that the votes were motivated by racism. Another wanted the emphasis to stay on the personal moral beliefs of the legislators, whichever way they voted.