It's amazing how within a single one-hour television program, the same host can provide balanced reporting on one story but provide completely one-sided coverage of another. For once on the issue of gun control, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts provided a balanced perspective of the issue at hand.
The same unfortunately cannot be said of abortion, as on April 2, Roberts featured Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America for a one-sided discussion on, “another western state cracking down on abortion rights.” Of course, Roberts failed to bring on a pro-life activist on to challenge the abortion lobby activist, who trashed as unconstitutional and dangerous for women's health recent pro-life measures passed by state legislatures in North Dakota and Kansas. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Roberts began the advocacy segment by asking Hogue:
Is this just an indicator that no matter how many state legislatures try to keep chipping away at Roe v. Wade both sides are continuing to fight on?
This allowed Ms. Hogue to begin her rant against pro-life Americans, claiming that:
What we're seeing, Thomas, is a disturbing pattern where women in America are living in two vastly different realities, some places where they actually have the full range of reproductive choices that allow them the independence and autonomy that we define as uniquely American and others where they're being told no you're actually a second class citizen and you're not allowed to make the choices that men would make between them and their doctors.
After allowing Hogue to slam pro-lifers as wanting women to be “second-class citizens”, Roberts ridiculously asked Ms. Hogue whether or not new laws requiring doctors who perform abortions to be required to have local hospital privileges will put women’s health in danger:
Do these type of strict laws that are looking to clamp down and totally do away with abortion and what Roe v. Wade provides in this country, do they make the life of the mother much more dangerous? For a woman that's trying to seek proper treatment for what her concerns are. I mean, these laws really limit the available options.
For some bizarre reason, both Roberts and Hague believe that having access to a hospital if there are complications during an abortion puts women’s health in risk. Having access to facilities with operating rooms, sterile equipment, doctors and nurses is risky according to the pro-abortion activist Hogue and Thomas Roberts.
Ms. Hague was then allowed to spew numerous false statements about such laws, claiming that, “Pre-Roe, illegal abortion was the top killer of women of child bearing age in this country.” As Mediaite's Noah Rothman points out, this myth has been rebuked by FactCheck.org -- no right-wing hack site it, by the way.
It seems that there is only room for one balanced segment during a single show on MSNBC, and abortion is not one of those subjects that Mr. Roberts deems worthy of having a discussion with a pro-life supporter.
See relevant transcript below.
April 2, 2013
11:31 a.m. EDT
THOMAS ROBERTS: Another western state is cracking down on abortion rights. The State Senate of Kansas is expected to pass a bill today that defines life at the beginning of fertilization. It also bans any state funding, tax credits or other benefits from going to any medical practices allowing abortions. Now just last week North Dakota’s Republican Governor signed an abortion bill that’s considered the strictest in the nation banning abortions once a heartbeat is detected. Joining me now is Ilyse Hogue President of NARAL pro-choice America. Ilyse it's great to have you here. And let's talk a lot about what we're seeing on the states level, especially for Kansas because this is happening as the first abortion clinic to operate in Wichita since the murder of George Tiller, that's opening up this week in the same building. The clinic's operators say that they're going to offer exams and other services for women as well. Is this just an indicator that no matter how many state legislatures try to keep chipping away at Roe v. Wade both sides are continuing to fight on?
ILYSE HOGUE: Well, absolutely. I mean what we're seeing, Thomas, is a disturbing pattern where women in America are living in two vastly different realities, some places where they actually have the full range of reproductive choices that allow them the independence and autonomy that we define as uniquely American and others where they're being told no you're actually a second class citizen and you're not allowed to make the choices that men would make between them and their doctors. But what you allude to, which is really important, is that women are on the march. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in February, a Wall Street Journal poll showed that 70% of Americans actually support Roe. Women made the difference in the last election and with 36 governors up in 2014, this is an issue that's not going to go away. Women will make their voices heard.
ROBERTS: You know, as we are talking about North Dakota, the lone abortion clinic there is in danger of shutting down because a part of the three bills that the governor had signed there requiring doctors to get admitting privileges at hospitals. Do these type of strict laws that are looking to clamp down and totally do away with abortion and what Roe v. Wade provides in this country, do they make the life of the mother much more dangerous? For a woman that's trying to seek proper treatment for what her concerns are. I mean, these laws really limit the available options.
HOGUE: Absolutely. There's two things to say about that, Thomas. One is your viewers have to remember that women will make their choices. The only question is whether they will make them safely or not. Pre-roe, illegal abortion was the top killer of women of child bearing age in this country. I don't think anyone wants to go back to those days. But the other thing that I say is you have to file these laws in the logic is irrelevant file. You look at where they're shutting down family planning clinics and unintended pregnancies go up. Unintended pregnancies go up but we're actually having to deal with health consequences for the mother and the children. You're actually limiting women's ability to get educated and participate in society. And what we know is that in countries where women thrive, families thrive, communities thrive, governments thrive, businesses thrive, so these people, these GOP extremists introducing this legislation are actually trying to undercut the strong fabric of this country that's made us great.
ROBERTS: Ilyse, are personhood bills on the rise?
HOGUE: Well, we're seeing them pop up here and there. The thing is what we know as women is that we are people and we will fight for our choices, we will fight to make them when our families and with our doctors, which is our right guaranteed in the constitution. That seems to be a fact that the GOP extremists that are introducing these bills have forgotten. And they are what I call constitutional situationalists. They defend it to its core when it serves their purpose but they're all too happy to throw it out when they want to shove women back to the middle ages. And you know it just won't stand. It doesn't stand the logic test.
ROBERTS: Ilyse Hogue from NARAL pro-choice America. Ilyse thanks for being here, I appreciate it.