CNN Compares Pro-Life GOPers to Northam After Endorsing Infanticide; They’re ‘On the Defensive’

Tuesday afternoon on CNN, Inside Politics and CNN Right Now compared conservatives and Republicans nationwide seeking to advance pro-life legislation to the scandal-ridden Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) after he made his comments endorsing infanticide. Their rationale? Well, in both cases, those two sides found themselves “on the defensive.” Yes, really.

On Inside Politics, host John King and Supreme Court reporter Adriene de Vogue noted that a pro-life law in Mississippi appears to be in serious jeopardy thanks to a federal judge in that state expressing skepticism during a hearing. After that, King argued that while cases work their way through the courts, “the Democrats seem to believe, it's a hard word because of the issue, but it's good ground for them.”

 

 

The Washington Post’s Paul Kane provided the line about Republicans being just like Northam:

Four months ago, Democrats were on the defensive with Virginia and some of the comments of the governor down there and talking about when life begins and potentially aborting born babies. Now, it's on completely the opposite foot. Republicans are completely on the defensive. 

So on one side, you have a group of people wanting to protect the unborn and being against infanticide. And on the other, you have a governor with a racist yearbook and a ghoulish view of babies born alive. It’s safe to say that they’re totally different.

White House reporter Kaitlan Collins relayed that, in the case of Alabama, that’s her home state and “this is something that is popular in parts of the state” while “in some parts they do believe it should include the exceptions for it, but you can see how this is playing out and how this is becoming a national issue and you've seen a lot of national Republicans break with this.”

Sorry, but the vote in the Alabama House was 74-3 and it passed 25-6 in the state Senate, so not exactly a split vote.

Moving to the next hour, fill-in host Phil Mattingly brought on 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, far-left abortion supporter, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to talk about the move in not just Alabama but across the country. 

Mattingly asked a tough question later, but not before this softball:

I guess one of the things I've been struck by over the last couple of weeks, particularly in the wake of some of these state-based laws, is it feels like some of the laws have shifted after you had kind of the Virginia law and the dispute over that. The Democrats feel like they are now on offense on this issue. Is that an accurate characterization of your view on things? 

After some boilerplate answers from Gillibrand that made it sound as if she were reading from Planned Parenthood talking points, Mattingly asked about her desire to have an abortion litmus test for judges and what was “the most important thing right now policy-wise as you move forward on the campaign trail and in the Senate.”

Gillibrand cited ghoulish proposals to further expand abortion, but it was after this that Mattingly brought the heat with the reality of how polling has shown widespread opposition to late-term abortions. Not surprisingly, she dodged the question (click “expand”):

MATTINGLY: Senator, do you have any concern when you look at the numbers where you're talking about a Roe v. Wade, the majority of Americans are with you. When you're talking about access to abortion particularly in the early stages, the numbers are with you, but that later on in — in the — in the birth proc — or, sorry, in the pregnancy process, Americans are at least polling-wise get a little uneasy about the fact that Democrats might be willing to leave it entirely up to people, put no restrictions on whatsoever. Do you — do you have any concern about that at all? 

GILLIBRAND: I think the American people agree, 70 percent agree that Roe v. Wade is settled law and that the fundamental decision of when a woman needs to make a decision about when she's having children, how many children she's having, under what circumstances she is having them, that those are fundamentally her decisions. President Trump tries to create red herring arguments that don't exist, and he's lying to the American people. This is about basic human and civil rights that women, as settled law, have a constitutional right to decide.

Of course, Mattingly didn’t follow up.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s Inside Politics on May 21, click “expand.”

CNN’s Inside Politics
May 21, 2019
12:38 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: #InsidePolitics: Protesters Rally Around U.S. Against New Anti-Abortion Laws]

STEPHEN KING: You're seeing live pictures from several protests going on across the country right now. Planned Parenthood organizing those demonstrations in places like Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas and than Atlanta, Georgia. The protests are aimed at new laws restricting abortion. Some have passed. Some are being debated in several state legislatures. The protesters say these laws are unconstitutional. Some supporters of these laws say they would relish a court fight about those laws, one of them banning abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy is in federal court in Mississippi today. CNN’s Ariane de Vogue joins me live. Ariane, we're waiting to see how these cases play their way up through the courts. What happened there in Mississippi today? 

ARIANE DE VOGUE: Well, John, this judge seemed deeply skeptical of Mississippi's law. It bans abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected and that can be as early as six weeks. It has an exception for the death of the woman or if there is severe health implications and it goes after the doctors, and it only set to take place in July, with you this Judge, judge Carlton Reeves, he pointed out that just a few months ago he struck down a ban at 15 weeks, and the legislature responded here by passing an even more restrictive law. So in court, he said, look, this smacks of defiance to this — to this court, to my earlier ruling, and he was particularly worried about the fact that this law has no exception for rape or incest. In court, the supporters — the critics of the law said, look, this goes against Supreme Court precedent. Many women don't even know whether or not they are pregnant at six weeks, but the state said, look, they have an interest in these kind of regulations and to promote life, and they thought that this law should pass judicial muster. All of this comes as several states across the country are introducing similar laws. I think there are 15 or so that have to do with so-called fetal heartbeat. In the future, too, all these courts will be looking to the Supreme Court. Will they take up a case like this that is so contradictory to Roe, or would they act in a different way to chip away at the rights, John? That's what we're looking at. 

KING: Giant question as we get closer to closer as we get closer to a presidential campaign. Ariane de Vogue, live in Mississippi, we appreciate that update. Let’s turn to the dramatic pictures of the protests. You see demonstrations across the country today, and at least three Democratic presidential candidates attended the protests here in Washington, D.C. outside of the Supreme Court: Senators Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand along with Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Here's Senator Klobuchar. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: #InsidePolitics: Klobuchar on Anti-Abortion Laws; “It’s Not Just a Coincidence”]

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): This is not just a coincidence that one state did it and then another state. No, this was a plan. You go back to 2016 when the President was running for office and had a town hall meeting. He was asked, well, what should happen if a woman has an abortion? And she — he said she should be punished.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: #InsidePolitics: Protesters Rally Around U.S. Against New Anti-Abortion Laws]

KING: It is a giant legal question now, and we'll see. Ariane makes an important point. There's no question that some of these cases are going to be in the Supreme Court. They’re going to have — just which case do they decide and what part of the law do they want to look at but as we wait for that, which will take months to learn the new cases anyway, there’s some new ones in the pipeline, but an immediate political debate, the Democrats seem to believe, it's a hard word because of the issue, but it's good ground for them.

OLIVIER KNOX: Sure, they need women voters. They need black women voters and the liberal base. Caucuses and primaries involve a lot more of the base than they do undecideds or semi-independents so yes, obviously the politics of this —

LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ: And it’s a way to get the voters to pay attention to the Supreme Court which is something that's been a winning issue for the Republicans in the past. You know, McConnell says that they won the presidency because they made the Supreme Court an issue. But also, you know, Republicans wanted to make abortion a big issue in 2020 to begin with and now Democrats feel as though they have stronger footing to push back against them with these challenges by the southern states. 

KING: We heard Senator Klobuchar and let's bring in Senator Gillibrand and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg making this point.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: #InsidePolitics: Buttigieg Reacts to State Abortion Laws, Talks Voter Suppression]

PETE BUTTIGIEG: I don't think it's a coincidence that those are the same states where you see a lot of voter suppression and where it is among hardest places to establish a living wage. All of these things are connected, and I'm trying to bridge together the American majority that believes in higher wages, that believes in making it easier for U.S. Citizens to vote and that believes in protecting women's reproductive freedom.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: #InsidePolitics: Protesters Rally Around U.S. Against New Anti-Abortion Laws]

KING: That's an interesting sort of trying to — a broader connect the dots approach. 

PAUL KANE: Four months ago, Democrats were on the defensive with Virginia and some of the comments of the governor down there and talking about when life begins and potentially aborting born babies. Now, it's on completely the opposite foot. Republicans are completely on the defensive. 

KING: That's why you saw the President over the weekend making clear that he supports the rape, incest and live of mother exception. He didn't criticize any of the new state laws. My question then is if the Republicans saw this coming and some of them did, why did either the leaders of the pro-life movement or the national Christian organization, Christian conservative organizations who politics, why didn't the White House political shop pick up the phone and call the governor of Alabama, Republican, governor of Missouri, Republican, governor of Mississippi, Republican and say please and then someone step up in the legislature and say President Trump asked me to do this and amend the bill. 

KAITLAN COLLINS: That's not really how it works between the White House and these states. I’m from Alabama, I was there over the weekend and this is something that is popular in parts of the state. Now, in some parts they do believe it should include the exceptions for it, but you can see how this is playing out and how this is becoming a national issue and you've seen a lot of national Republicans break with this, not only including Ronna McDaniel but also Kevin McCarthy. You see so many Republicans and the President, of course, even though he wasn't specific and didn't name Alabama and when he was given a chance to follow up on it yesterday he did not take that opportunity, essentially just saying my opinion is known. But you're seeing the divide between them and you’re also seeing the divide between Washington and the nation. While people like Nancy Pelosi are trying to keep issues like impeachment off the table, that's because voters are talking about things like abortion, immigration, and general healthcare. 

KING: We’ll continue to watch it as it plays it’s way through the courts.

To see the relevant transcript from May 21's CNN Right Now, click “expand.”

CNN Right Now
May 21, 2019
1:36 p.m. Eastern

[PRO-ABORTION PROTESTERS]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Happening Now; Nationwide Protests Erupt Over Abortion Bans Across U.S.]

PHIL MATTINGLY: Happening right now, abortion rights protests are underway across the country. Rallies began last hour organized by dozens of different groups, including the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. These protests were sparked by a wave of strict new abortion laws, including Georgia's heartbeat bill and Alabama's new law which makes abortion illegal in virtually all cases, including for rape an incest victims. Now, several 2020 Democrats are attending the protests today, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator, thanks so much for joining me. I guess one of the things I've been struck by over the last couple of weeks, particularly in the wake of some of these state-based laws, is it feels like some of the laws have shifted after you had kind of the Virginia law and the dispute over that. The Democrats feel like they are now on offense on this issue. Is that an accurate characterization of your view on things? 

SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): I think this is something that President Trump has unleashed. He apparently wants to have a war on women in America, and if this is a war that he wants to have, he will have it, and he will lose it, because American women are not going to accept this. This protest today is being replicated in 50 states right now, a nationwide day of protest by women speaking out for their basic human rights, basic civil rights, the ability to make the most intimate life-and-death decisions and to have bodily autonomy is part of basic human rights for American women, so we're going to fight. 

MATTINGLY: Senator, I was interested, you said last week I believe that you would have a litmus test for any Supreme Court nominee regarding Roe v. Wade. You had also a proposal on this issue. What — what do you feel like is the most important thing right now policy-wise as you move forward on the campaign trail and in the Senate? 

GILLIBRAND: So on this issue, I'm fighting for four things. I will not appoint a justice or a judge who doesn't believe that Roe v. Wade is settled precedent. I will work to overturn the Hyde amendment, which makes it impossible for low-income women to get access to reproductive care, including abortion services. I will also work hard to codify Roe v. Wade so it's the law of the land, and I will make sure no matter what state you live in that you have an opportunity to get full reproductive care. 

MATTINGLY: Senator, do you have any concern when you look at the numbers where you're talking about a Roe v. Wade, the majority of Americans are with you. When you're talking about access to abortion particularly in the early stages, the numbers are with you, but that later on in — in the — in the birth proc — or, sorry, in the pregnancy process, Americans are at least polling-wise get a little uneasy about the fact that Democrats might be willing to leave it entirely up to people, put no restrictions on whatsoever. Do you — do you have any concern about that at all? 

GILLIBRAND: I think the American people agree, 70 percent agree that Roe v. Wade is settled law and that the fundamental decision of when a woman needs to make a decision about when she's having children, how many children she's having, under what circumstances she is having them, that those are fundamentally her decisions. President Trump tries to create red herring arguments that don't exist, and he's lying to the American people. This is about basic human and civil rights that women, as settled law, have a constitutional right to decide. 

MATTINGLY: And before I let you go, I know this is an important day, particularly on this issue and particularly in the rally and the marches that you're at today, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing pressure from within her party to take a more aggressive strategy towards impeachment based on what they have seen from the White House, the defiance on subpoenas. Where do you stand on whether or not the House should move forward on that issue? 

[GILLIBRAND ANSWER ON IMPEACHMENT]

MATTINGLY: Yeah, we'll keep an eye on that. Former member of the House Democratic caucus herself, now a Senator and presidential candidate, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, thanks so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. 

GILLIBRAND: Thank you. 

NBDaily Pro-choicers Pro-lifers Protesters Sexuality Abortion CNN Inside Politics Other CNN Video Government & Press Paul Kane John King Kaitlan Collins Ralph Northam Kirsten Gillibrand
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