In response to pro-life legislation being passed through various state legislatures, Planned Parenthood and other activists launched what they call their nationwide "Day of Action" on Tuesday in protest to these laws. Not surprisingly, that included Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen being treated to a friendly interview on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports.
Host Andrea Mitchell asked Wen what she thought the "crisis" for abortion rights activists is, allowing Wen to then accuse the states that have passed these pro-life bills of putting women's lives on the line: "Before Roe v. Wade, thousands of people died every year, because they didn't have access to safe abortions, and that could happen again because of this unprecedented number of bills aimed at one thing only and one thing only, to ban all safe, legal abortions and overturn Roe v. Wade in this country."
In addition to noticing that "rare" is no longer included among "safe" and "legal," Wen's often repeated talking point, however, did not have any basis in historical fact as the late NARAL co-founder-turned-pro-life-activist Bernard Nathanson said that the "thousands" number "were totally false."
Mitchell then turned to New York Times opinion writer and MSNBC contributor Mara Gay, who condemned Alabama for not just essentially banning abortion, but also accused the state of curtailing "a woman's ability to go seek care after a miscarriage, to go to a Planned Parenthood to get checked for cervical cancer."
"These bills are not just anti-abortion, they're anti-women," she added.
Mitchell, who in the past has insisted that pro-life guests not refer to themselves as pro-life, then turned back to Wen who repeated the misleading at best poll that says 73 percent of Americans support Roe v. Wade. Wen, speaking from one of the rallies in Washington, hyped the nationwide "Day of Action" protests.
Speaking of Wen's protests, by virtue of appearing on MSNBC, she got more attention than the March for Life that sees an estimated 100,000 people descend on D.C. every year or Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims for when he bullied praying pro-life teenage protestors. Sims's behavior then led to a protest in front of the Philadelphia Planned Parenthood in support of life.
Here is a transcript for the May 21 show:
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports
May 21, 2019
12:30 p.m. Eastern
ANDREA MITCHELL: What do you see as the crisis now for Planned Parenthood and others who support the right to make the choice of having an abortion, or making a decision between a woman and her doctor?
LEANA WEN: This is a very dangerous time for women's health in our country. Before Roe v. Wade, thousands of people died every year, because they didn't have access to safe abortions, and that could happen again because of this unprecedented number of bills aimed at one thing only and one thing only, to ban all safe, legal abortions and overturn Roe v. Wade in this country. We need everyone to know that abortion is safe and still legal in all 50 states. Planned Parenthood is here to fight for our patients, serve our patients and will always fight to preserve health and rights for all.
MITCHELL: Mara, there is sort of an echo chamber among abortion rights activists, what we're seeing is more and more states that are controlled with Republican governors, Republican legislatures, and even in Missouri [sic] which has a Democrat governor is going to sign this bill.
MARA GAY: No, that’s right. What we’re seeing is the fruit of a 30-year battle by far right-wing extremists and also just by anti-abortion activists to take over state legislatures. Democrats didn't really pay much attention and I think that unfortunately, this is kind of the result of that, and I think Democrats also didn't pay the same attention to the courts that Republicans and, you know, folks on the right did, and I think that this is, this is now breaking out into the mainstream consciousness that this is actually a real -- this is really happening. This has been brought home in a visceral way. The bill in Alabama that passed last week was especially troubling. Not only is their interest in banning abortions but these are direct attacks on women's health and I think that has not being a part of this conversation enough. Its not just abortion, although it is abortion at stake. It's also a woman's ability to go seek care after a miscarriage, to go to a Planned Parenthood to get checked for cervical cancer. These bills are not just anti-abortion, they're anti-women.
MITCHELL: And Louisiana, is also, Dr. Wen, another state, I misspoke, the Missouri governor is a Republican, but in Louisiana it is a Democrat who is going to sign the bill and these bills are much more restrictive, perhaps not as restrictive as Alabama but much more restrictive than the incremental approach that we've seen in recent years.
WEN: And we know that this is a direct defiance to what the American people want. 73% of Americans support Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. And we're seeing today in our Day of Action all around the country in over 500 communities and 50 states including D.C. And Puerto Rico, we are seeing people rise up all over to protect our fundamental health and our freedoms. And people are here today to say we understand what medicine and public health have been saying. Which is abortion care is health care. Politicians have no role to play in the exam room. The personal health decisions should be left to a woman in consultation with her doctor and her family.