On his Sunday morning State of the Union show, CNN host Jake Tapper demonstrated his blatant sympathy with the left's pro-abortion views as he pressed both Republican and Democratic guests from the left on the issue.
Tapper spent the first segment challenging Mississippi's Republican governor, Tate Reeves, over his state's efforts to ban abortion, and then, in the second segment, treated Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to what amounted to a strategy session over how to thwart Republicans as the New York Democrat appeared as a guest.
The CNN host began his talk with Governor Reeves by invoking a Mississippi law that was passed in 2007 that would ban abortions except in case of rape or the mother's life being in danger. Without informing viewers that Democrats controlled both houses of Mississippi's state legislature at the time, Tapper focused on complaining about incest not being one of the exceptions as he pressed the Republican governor on the issue.
At one point, he also suggested that laws against abortion in the state should not be enforced because the state government has not provided enough programs to help children:
Mississippi, as you know, has the highest rate of infant mortality in the United States, one of the highest rates of child poverty in the United States, has no guaranteed maternity leave that's paid. The legislature in Mississippi just rejected extending post-partum Medicaid coverage.
Your foster care system is also the subject of a long-running federal lawsuit over its failure to protect children from abuse. ... you say you want to do more to support mothers, and children, but you've been in state government since 2004. You were the state treasurer, then you were the lieutenant governor, now you're the governor. Based on the track record of the state of Mississippi, why should any of these girls or moms believe you?
After spending the 18-minute segment peppering his Republican guest with questions to undermine the push to restrict abortion, Tapper then opened his interview with Senator Gillibrand by previewing the more sympathetic session he was about to give her. After a soundbite of her ranting that it would be "barbaric" to restrict abortion, Tapper credited Democrats with warning about an eventual overturn of Roe v. Wade: "Democrats have been warning about this possibility for decades frankly. The question is: Is there anything lawmakers can do to stop it?"
After the Democratic Senator railed against conservatives, the CNN host then followed up by touting complaints by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, that congressional Democrats have not done enough, and played several soundbites of the California governor hitting fellow Democrats from the left.
Toward the end of the segment, as Senator Gillibrand suggested that conservative Supreme Justices had lied about their views on Roe v. Wade during confirmation hearings, Tapper sympathetically followed up: "Oh, I know. And you said that the five Supreme Court justices lied in their confirmation hearings when they said that Roe v. Wade is precedent and settled law. Are you saying -- are you accusing them of committing perjury?"
The Democratic Senator was only mildly challenged as the CNN host fretted that, if Democrats were to pass a nationwide abortion legalization by bypassing the filibuster, Republicans would react by someday passing a nationwide ban. Otherwise, the segment was what one expects of how CNN anchors typically deal with Democrat guests -- a sympathetic discussion of how they're going to counteract Republicans.
Tapper has for years shown a double standard favoring liberals on abortion on both his Sunday morning show and on his weekday The Lead show as frequent Republican guests like Governor Reeves and Senator Susan Collins are pressed from the left.
Democrats are treated to sympathetic forums, and, in the rare occasions when a conservative complaint against abortion has been brought up, Tapper has generally done so half-heartedly, allowing Democrats like former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to spin, or Congresswoman Jackie Speier to just refuse to answer the question.
This episode of State of the Union was sponsored in part by Safelite, Lactaid, and GoDaddy. Their contact information is linked.
CNN's State of the Union
May 8, 2022
9:01 a.m. Eastern
JAKE TAPPER: So Mississippi is one of the states that has a trigger law passed in 2007 that will ban all abortions except in cases of rape or in cases of where the mother's life is at stake, with no exceptions for incest, if Roe is overturned. This would require the state attorney general to certify that Roe v. Wade is no longer in effect. So if the Supreme Court rules as expected, is Mississippi going to implement that trigger law and make all abortions except in those two narrow circumstances illegal?
(GOVERNOR TATE REEVES (R-MS))
As this country saw before 1973, banning abortion does not actually end abortion -- it causes girls and women to seek out methods that are not as safe to end their pregnancy methods that in the past resulted in mutilation or even death. Now, Mississippi, according to your state department of health, has about 3,500 abortions a year. Has the state done any analysis of what the state thinks will happen to those women and girls if the law goes into effect? How many unwanted pregnancies will result in deliveries? How many will result in women and girls dying because they seek out unsafe methods? Have you done an analysis that way?
So, Governor, you just said that you did an analysis. Can you tell us anything more about the analysis? What did the state of Mississippi conclude as to the 3,500 abortions that happen per year in Mississippi? How many of those girls and women will seek unsafe abortions? How many might die? How many might end up hurt, mutilated, whatever? What did the analysis reveal?
So, Governor, you and I have talked about this before, but Mississippi, as you know, has the highest rate of infant mortality in the United States, one of the highest rates of child poverty in the United States, has no guaranteed maternity leave that's paid. The legislature in Mississippi just rejected extending post-partum Medicaid coverage. Your foster care system is also the subject of a long-running federal lawsuit over its failure to protect children from abuse. You and I have had this conversation before. I hear you -- you say you want to do more to support mothers, and children, but you've been in state government since 2004. You were the state treasurer, then you were the lieutenant governor, now you're the governor. Based on the track record of the state of Mississippi, why should any of these girls or moms believe you?
So the snap back law that was passed in 2007 has no exception for incest. So assuming the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the state of Mississippi will force girls and women who are the victims of incest to carry those childs (sic) to term. Can you explain why that is going to be your law?
REEVES: Well, that's going to be the law because in 2007 the Mississippi legislature passed it. I will tell you, Jake -- and this sort of speaks to how far the Democrats in Washington have come on this issue -- but in 2007, when the trigger law was put in place, we had a Democrat speaker of the house, and we had a Democrat chairman of the public health committee in the Mississippi House of Representatives --
REEVES: --that passed that particular piece of legislation.
TAPPER: But why are you going to -- why is it acceptable in your state to force girls who are victims of incest to carry those child -- children to term?
REEVES: Well, as you know, Jake, over 92 percent of all abortions in America are elective procedures. When you look at the number of those that actually involve incest is less than one percent. And if we need to have that conversation in the future about potential --
TAPPER: This is your law.
REEVES: -- in the trigger law, we can certainly do that. But the reality is that, again, that affects less than one percent of all abortions in America on an annual basis.
TAPPER: Okay, but that is going to be the law of Mississippi. Let me ask you: What about a fetus that has serious or fatal abnormalities that will not allow that fetus to live outside the womb? Is the state of Mississippi going to force those girls and women who have this tragedy inside them to carry the child to term? Are you going to force them to do that?
REEVES: Well, Jake, I'll tell you, I think that these questions illustrate exactly what we've been talking about, and that is, you're dealing in examples that are rare and are very small percentage of the overall abortions. And the reason for that is because, when you talk to Americans regardless of what the polling says with respect to overturning Roe v. Wade, the vast majority of Americans recognize that the abortion laws in America right now, that is what are extreme. American abortion laws are extreme relative to the rest of the Western world.
REEVES: We know that even if the Court did not overturn Roe -- even if the Court did not overturn Roe -- even if they just decided to uphold Mississippi's 15-week ban that 39 out of 42 countries in Europe would still have more restrictive abortion laws.
REEVES: The vast majority of Americans support restrictions that are reasonable on abortion, and the overturning of Roe is simply going to return those decision-making processes --
TAPPER: -- to the states
REEVES: -- back to the individual legislatures in all 50 states.
TAPPER: And I'm asking you about the law in your state and the exceptions that the law does not offer to Mississippi women and girls who are victims of incest, who have fetuses that have fatal or very serious abnormalities -- which is not really all that rare, to be honest. I mean, I know plenty of women that that has happened to, and they had to take, you know -- they wanted to have a healthy child, but they weren't able to. And your law would force them to carry it -- the child to term. I want to ask you a philosophical question here because I know you have said that you believe life begins at conception. Just to be clear, does that mean the moment of fertilization or the moment of implantation?
REEVES: I believe that life begins at conception, and I have said repeatedly -- and I know where this question is ultimately going with respect to birth control and other measures. I want to be clear -- my view is that the next phase of the pro-life movement is focusing on helping those moms that maybe have an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. The next phase of the pro-life movement is making sure that those babies who are born have a productive life. And while I'm sure there will be conversations around America regarding that, it's not something that we spent a lot of time focused on.
TAPPER: Does that mean that you believe that -- that you believe that conception is the moment of implantation? Is that what you're saying?
REEVES: That is not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is -- again, this is a debate we can have once the actual Court has made their ruling once the actual words are on the paper. That's what makes this topic so difficult and, quite frankly, what makes the leak so wrong is that we don't have an opinion. We don't know what the Court is actually going to say. And I would hope that the chief justice and the others on the court would actually give the opinion out sooner rather than later so that those of us who deal with the laws and those of us who have to deal with the actual words on the page know exactly what they say and allow and what they don't. There's no fundamental right to an abortion in the U.S. Constitution. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that precludes individual states from regulating or restricting abortions. And that's the ruling that the Court chooses to make. But, again, what we have is a leaked draft. We don't have a final -- a final settlement of the matter.
TAPPER: But just to be clear, the state of Mississippi -- you're not going to then target IUD or Plan B, which are methods of birth control that might not allow a fertilized egg to be implanted? And this is not a theoretical construct. This is not, you know, the state of Louisiana -- which I recognize is a neighboring state and not your state -- I mean, they're talking about not only criminally charging girls and women who get abortions as, you know, as committing homicide, but they're also talking about defining the moment of conception as fertilization, which would theoretically -- if this were to become the law in Louisiana -- it is not yet -- mean that murder -- if you use an IUD, you are committing murder theoretically. So it's not -- I'm not making this up. These are the conversations going on in legislatures in your -- in your area. But just to be clear, you have no intention of seeking to ban IUD's or Plan B?
You mean not arresting girls or women, but you would arrest doctors?
REEVES: Well, certainly, I don't that -- that you're going to see doctors performing abortions if we have a state statute which says there are not allowable except for those exceptions that we mentioned earlier.
TAPPER: So one of the other topics that people talk about -- legal experts -- discuss is that the reasoning that Justice Alito uses in this draft opinion as we point out -- it's not -- not an official opinion -- it's just a draft opinion -- but one of the -- the legal reason that he uses is that -- he says -- as you say -- abortion is not a right specifically enumerated in the Constitution. Legal experts point out that that could just as easily be applied to other landmark court decision -- for instance, same-sex marriage. Alito even references, you know, the Obergefell ruling that affirmed that right in his draft opinion. Would you want the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn that precedent as well that granted same-sex couples the right to get married in the United States.
In point of fact, Governor, yes, it is true that the American people support legal abortion with restrictions, but it is also true that two-thirds of the American people consistently keeping Roe v. Wade in place. In any case, we thank you so much for your time today, Governor Reeves.
9:24 a.m. ET
SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): I would like to speak to America's men for one minute. Imagine you do not have the authority over your own body for 10 months. (editing jump) It's barbaric. It is inhumane. It is unacceptable. And I hope every human being in this country understands that when you take away a woman's right to make decisions about her health and wellbeing, she is no longer a full citizen.
TAPPER: Welcome back to the State of the Union. I'm Jake Tapper. That was Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York reacting to that leaked draft of the Supreme Court opinion on abortion. Democrats have been warning about this possibility for decades frankly. The question is: Is there anything lawmakers can do to stop it? Senator Gillibrand is joining us now. ... You just heard Governor Tate Reeves say if this ruling stands, Mississippi is going to ban almost all abortions in the state with exceptions for rape only if someone is prosecuted or charges are brought, or also if the life of the mother is at stake. No exception for incest. What was your reaction to Governor Reeves?
GILLIBRAND: Well, I thought he was quite paternalistic towards women. He indicated during your conversation that all we needed is more education for women. I was pretty offended by his remarks, and, you know, he doesn't look at women as full citizens. He's taken away their right to make fundamental decisions about when they're having trouble, under what circumstances they're having children, how many children they're having, at what point in their life they're having children. It's outrageous that this governor and governors and legislatures across America are going to take this draft opinion when it is final and deny women these fundamental life and death decisions about their future and about their families.
TAPPER: Some Democrats, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, have responded as you are responding, but Newsom's also arguing that national Democrats are not doing enough to fight this. Take a listen.
GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Where the hell is my party? Where's the Democratic party? You guys paying attention? (editing jump) Why aren't we standing up more firmly, more resolutely? Why aren't we calling this out? This is a concerted, coordinated effort, and, yes, they're winning. They are. They have been. (editing jump) We need to stand up. Where's the counter-offensive?
TAPPER: So where is the counter-offensive, Senator?
As you know, the Senate is going to vote Wednesday on legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade. As you know, Democrats don't have the votes. They don't have 60 to get to a vote, and I don't know if you even have 50 to pass it because Senator Manchin, I believe, opposes it. So you and others have called on the Senate to eliminate the filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this weekend he thinks that a national abortion ban -- so not sending it back to the states -- just banning it everywhere -- banning it in New York, banning it in California, banning it in Washington, D.C. -- McConnell said he thinks a national abortion ban is possible. Is it not true that if you eliminate the filibuster to pass this, and then Republicans win control of Congress down the road, they could ban abortion nationwide with just 50 votes.
GILLIBRAND: ...Four justices in the last hearings that I've witnessed have said that precedent matters and that precedent is the foundation of our legal system. And so if they just feel they can just upend this precedent because they don't like it today, well, that's inconsistent with what they promised -- excuse me -- they promised the Senators who voted for them. And if you look at the statements of both Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, they truly believe their statements were inconsistent with what they told them.
TAPPER: Oh, I know. And you said that the five Supreme Court justices lied in their confirmation hearings when they said that Roe v. Wade is precedent and settled law. Are you saying -- are you accusing them of committing perjury?
The Lead with Jake Tapper
July 1, 2018
JAKE TAPPER (to Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins): A lot of women around the country are looking to you right now -- almost seven in 10 women, according to a new poll, want Roe versus Wade to stay intact. What do you say to those women who say, "What are you going to do here? How are you going to protect this right?"?
You're going to get a lot of pressure from groups and individuals who support abortion rights, and one of the things that they think about you is that you get played by these judges, and that ultimately, if you vote to support whoever President Trump nominates -- presuming that person comes from this list of 25 -- that one of your longest-lasting legacies is likely going to be that you voted to confirm a justice who ultimately tipped the balance of power -- political power -- on the Court and voted to overturn Roe.
State of the Union
December 16, 2018
9:09 a.m. Eastern
TAPPER (to Senator Collins): Planned Parenthood's political wing tweeted out a link from a liberal website slamming you as, quote, "delusional," for thinking that this move means (Justice Brett) Kavanaugh will support abortion rights -- uphold Roe v. Wade in the future. I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond.
May 22, 2019
4:47 p.m. ET
CBS News finds that 67 percent of Americans think the Supreme Court should keep Roe versus Wade -- 28 percent want the high court to overturn it. A Pew poll found similar feelings -- 65 percent of voters said that they agreed with Roe versus Wade. Why are Republicans doing this then if ultimately the vast majority of the American people don't support these bans and don't want Roe v. Wade overturned?
May 31, 2019
4:48 p.m. ET
We have some news -- good news if you're an abortion rights supporter, especially in Missouri, but the celebration might not last very long. Stay with us.
State of the Union
May 30, 2021
9:23 a.m. ET
(interview with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY))
The Supreme Court is now preparing to hear a case of a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks, which is about two months earlier than Roe v. Wade would make legal. How worried are you that this Supreme Court which is basically 6-3 majority conservative will gut Roe versus Wade?
State of the Union
June 6, 2021
9:39 a.m. ET
(interview with Governor Tate Reeves (R-MS))
And what do you say to a Mississippian who says, "Why are you telling a girl who has been raped by her uncle that she has to carry the child to term?"?
State of the Union
December 5, 2021
9:00 a.m. ET
(in opening tease) Roe at risk: Nationwide protection for abortion is on the line as the Supreme Court considers a Mississippi case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Could millions of American women lose their constitutional right to have an abortion?
(interview with Governor Reeves)
9:18 a.m. ET
So the country has been here before -- before 1973 -- and what happens in reality is women of means are still able to get abortions, but poor women, young women, vulnerable women often end up seeking abortions in ways that can cause them severe harm, mutilation, if not death in some cases. So do you acknowledge that this step will result in some women getting almost certainly seriously hurt, some even dying.
You clearly see this move as part of a culture of life as you've said in the past. Mississippi of course ranks 50th in the country in infant mortality. Mississippi is nearly last when it comes to childhood hunger. According to a recent study of what kids need to thrive from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, looking at economic wellbeing and education and health and family and community, Mississippi ranks 50th out of 50 for child wellbeing. How do you square those statistics about Mississippi with what you say about a culture of life?
State of the Union
December 12, 2021
9:42 a.m. ET
(interviewing Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN))
The Supreme Court just ruled that some of the challenges against Texas's restrictive abortion ban can proceed. The law bans abortion after six weeks before a lot of women even know they're pregnant, deputizes private citizens to enforce it. That law is allowed to remain in effect. Quickly, if you could, what was your reaction? And what do you fear about the -- I know you've expressed fear about what happens to Roe v. Wade.