Best of AP — Honorable Mention


Comprehensive coverage of abortion case before Supreme Court

Stephen Parlato of Boulder, Colo., holds a sign that reads “Hands Off Roe!!!” as abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Dec. 1, 2021, as the court was to hear arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)


AP journalists in Washington, Mississippi, Texas and New York delivered standout all-formats coverage as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Mississippi’s abortion law, a highly charged case with national implications for abortion rights.

AP showcased its range and depth with previews of the case, spot coverage and analysis of the arguments before the court and context on decades of abortion law since 1973’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Looking well beyond the case itself, AP reported on the potential impact of the court’s pending decision.

AP’s accomplished Supreme Court journalists, Mark Sherman and Jessica Gresko, provided textbook setup pieces ahead of the case, then, once arguments were underway, used the seamless procedure they have perfected to report oral arguments from inside and outside of the court. News associate Parker Purifoy added color from outside the courthouse.

Stories from Sherman and Gresko ranged from a well-researched piece quoting the justices’ statements on abortion,to a thoughtful piece taking readers back 30 years,when Roe stood on the precipice of being overturned and how that was averted by the defections of conservative justices.

At the same time,Washington colleagues Jill Colvin and Hannah Fingerhut,along with New York-based David Crary and Steve Peoples,reported on the legal landscape that will follow any opinion,as well as public opinion and the potential political ramifications of the case. Washington’s Lisa Mascaro delved into the confirmation hearings of the various justices, raising questions over the reliability of those hearings for their future rulings on the high court.

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Abortion rights advocates hold cardboard cutouts of the Supreme Court justices, in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Dec. 1, 2021. – AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana

On the ground in Mississippi,South Region staffers Emily Wagster Pettus and Leah Willingham,with an assist from Sudhin Thanawala,produced a vivid story of what the day of the arguments looked like at the source.

Washington’s Ashraf Khalil rounded out the reporting on what the future may look like with an analysis of the coming battle over abortion laws,while Sherman and Austin’s Paul J. Weber explored what a post-Roe world might look like through the eyes of Texans,where the nation’s most restrictive abortion law is in effect. That law too is before the Supreme Court.

Visuals elevated the coverage,including still photos from Washington photographers Andrew Harnik and Luis Magana,and video from Nathan Ellgren and Rick Gentilo, as well as scores of others who made AP’s coverage a collaborative effort.

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