MSNBC Cheers Planned Parenthood ‘On the Offensive’, ‘Targeting’ GOP Senators

On Tuesday’s MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts, fill-in anchor Frances Rivera eagerly promoted Planned Parenthood attacking Republicans: “Planned Parenthood is going on the offensive, releasing ads in four states targeting these senators, urging supporters to tell them not to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood.”

A long clip of one of the ads followed, blasting New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte for being pro-life: “First, Kelly Ayotte voted to defund Planned Parenthood, risking health care for millions of women. Now, Republicans want to shut down the government to block funding for Planned Parenthood. What would a shutdown mean for New Hampshire?”

Soundbites ran of supposed New Hampshire citizens fretting over a fictional government shutdown. An elderly man in a wheelchair asked: “Will anyone be there to process my veterans benefits?” An elderly woman worried: “What would that do to Social Security and Medicare?” Finally, a woman holding a child pleaded: “Will I be able to get my daughter into Head Start?”

All that doom simply from Republicans objecting to $500 million in taxpayer funding going to the nation’s largest abortion provider.

After providing free air time to the left-wing group’s smear campaign, Rivera noted: “It comes on the heels of the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress releasing several undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives discussing fetal tissue and organs.” No clips were played of those disturbing videos.

Instead, Rivera turned to correspondent Irin Carmon and wondered: “How else is Planned Parenthood fighting back and pushing back with traction against those videos?”

Carmon recited Planned Parenthood talking points perfectly:

Well, Frances, there's no question that it's been a tough stretch of time for Planned Parenthood, but it's probably feeling more confident than ever in light of the fact that opinion polls still show that it is overwhelmingly popular, even among people who have viewed these videos.

Now the federal funding that’s in question and the shutdown fight that is being referred to in these ads, that funding only goes to contraceptive services and other women’s health services, it's not related to this fetal tissue question. But Republicans have used the question of whether Planned Parenthood violated fetal tissue regulations to energize a preexisting campaign against the organization because it’s an abortion provider.

The poll that Carmon cited was conducted by Democratic polling firm Hart Research Associates and ordered by Planned Parenthood itself.

Carmon warned: “The question is whether when we come back in the fall, when Congress is back in session, will Republicans have the same sort of appetite?....the question is whether Republicans have the appetite to take it all the way to a shutdown of the federal government...what Planned Parenthood sees as a political vulnerability that we're seeing in these ads.”

Here is a full transcript of the segment:

1:35 PM ET

FRANCES RIVERA: Planned Parenthood is going on the offensive, releasing ads in four states targeting these senators, urging supporters to tell them not to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood. And here's one of the ads targeting Senator Ayotte.

AD NARRATOR [PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND]: First, Kelly Ayotte voted to defund Planned Parenthood, risking health care for millions of women. Now, Republicans want to shut down the government to block funding for Planned Parenthood. What would a shutdown mean for New Hampshire?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Will anyone be there to process my veterans benefits?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What would that do to Social Security and Medicare?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B: Will I be able to get my daughter into Head Start?  

RIVERA: It comes on the heels of the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress releasing several undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives discussing fetal tissue and organs. Planned Parenthood  says the recordings are misleading, edited, and denies any wrongdoing.

MSNBC’s Irin Carmon is here in New York. And how else is Planned Parenthood fighting back and pushing back with traction against those videos?

IRIN CARMON: Well, Frances, there's no question that it's been a tough stretch of time for Planned Parenthood, but it's probably feeling more confident than ever in light of the fact that opinion polls still show that it is overwhelmingly popular, even among people who have viewed these videos.

Now the federal funding that’s in question and the shutdown fight that is being referred to in these ads, that funding only goes to contraceptive services and other women’s health services, it's not related to this fetal tissue question. But Republicans have used the question of whether Planned Parenthood violated fetal tissue regulations to energize a preexisting campaign against the organization because it’s an abortion provider.

The question is whether when we come back in the fall, when Congress is back in session, will Republicans have the same sort of appetite? Today, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued an update on that investigation. So far, none of the state-level investigations in Planned Parenthood have turned up anything in terms of legal wrongdoing. But you're still seeing this defunding push in the states and the question is whether Republicans have the appetite to take it all the way to a shutdown of the federal government, which is precisely the kind of – what Planned Parenthood sees as a political vulnerability that we're seeing in these ads.

RIVERA: Alright, MSNBC’s Irin Carmon. Thank you very much, appreciate your time.  

CARMON: Thanks, Frances.

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