MSNBC freaked out on Friday morning, offering multiple segment on the Trump administration’s new restrictions on funding for clinics that provide abortions or refer women to those who do. An MSNBC graphic provided the typically slanted tone: “Targeting Women’s Rights.” Well, apparently there’s no debate then.
MSNBC Live co-host Ali Velshi huffed that Donald Trump is actually doing things people elected him to do: “A number of things that are happening seem to be appeals to the base.... These are the kinds of things that keep that base faithful to Donald Trump that is just not concerned. The Israel embassy, there is this Planned Parenthood move.”
With no sense of self awareness, Velshi complained: “There something dangerous though with wanting the President to follow through, through executive orders and through regulation, that is not legislative?”
Where was MSNBC when Barack Obama repeatedly used executive orders?
Later in the morning, Hallie Jackson talked to the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, Dawn Laguens. She fretted:
So the administration is framing this for groups like yours as either stop performing abortions altogether or only operate using private money. Are either of those options palatable for you?
Jackson repeatedly prompted Laguens on whether Planned Parenthood would sue over this: “Does that mean file a lawsuit?... Not ruling out a lawsuit then, Dawn, right?”
Partial transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more:
MSNBC GRAPHIC: Targeting Women’s Rights: Planned Parenthood Vice President: New Trump Proposal “Would Have Devastating Consequences”
ALI VELSHI: Joining me now to discuss this is Matt Welch. He’s the editor at large for the libertarian Reason and Zerlina Maxwell, the director for progressive programming at Sirius XM. Good morning to both off you. Zerlina, you and I have been talking a bit this week. A number of things that are happening seem to be appeals to the base. They seem to be concentrated on the idea that they are distractions, whether it’s about the President Trump’s personal life or the Russia investigation. But these are the kinds of things that keep that base faithful to Donald Trump that is just not concerned. The Israel embassy, there is this Planned Parenthood move. Tell me about this event.
ZERLINA MAXWELL: So in this specific instance, he's, again, pandering to his base. The evangelical base that elected him and the evangelical base that has an ideological opposition to abortion. Now, what we're talking about is Title Ten. So, Title Ten allows for federal funding to go to certain institutions like planned parenthood that offer abortion services. This is almost like a Hyde Amendment style rule that uses regulations to prohibit funding going to these organizations. In this specific context, it's exactly like a domestic gag rule. It's something where clinics like Planned Parenthood are not able to have abortion services and all the contraception and pap smears and breast exams in the same facility.
And so in practice what this essentially restricts is one in four women in America have had an abortion. The majority of women have gone to a Planned Parenthood for reproductive health care. It's not just about abortion. Because as we know, increased access to contraception actually reduces the number of abortions. And the teen pregnancy rate in this current moment is at the lowest it's ever been. Because of the increased access to contraception we've had under ObamaCare, which is actually something that has gone away in this current administration.
VELSHI: So, Matt, there are a lot of people in America who thinks abortion is protected because of the constitution with Roe vs Wade ruling but there's been restriction placed on abortion largely in state legislatures across this country. And now we are seeing, as Zerlina points out, regulation that is not legislation. So we're not dealing with this either through the courts or through congress. What do you make of this?
MATT WELCH: The political piece of it, I think we have to understand, part of Donald Trump's kind of political sort of genius or strategy, let's say, is that he tells Republicans, especially in the grassroots, those things that Republicans have been telling you forever that we're going to do, I'm actually going to do it. All these sort of insincere gestures towards the base, I'm going to follow through on. The movement, the embassy in Jerusalem, is part of that, they’ve been promising that since 1996. This is a rule that basically lapsed under Bill Clinton. Republicans have been promising this forever and he's actually following through on that.
VELSHI: Is there something dangerous though with wanting the president to follow through, through executive orders and through regulation, that is not legislative?
WELCH: It's a sign of where congress has gone. Congress doesn't do anything, really, anymore. They pass a series of budgets at the last minute They don't do their basic job.
HALLIE JACKSON: Also later today, the Trump administration is planning to propose new rules about where abortion services can be provided. So here's the deal. Right now no federal money goes directly to abortions. That's not allowed. Organizations like Planned Parenthood use the federal money they get for other family planning services. But this new rule now says if a group is taking any federal money at all, they cannot provide those other services under the same roof, in the same office space as where they provide abortions.
The new rule will also drop a requirement that place dollars the get this money provide abortion counseling to patients. Planned Parenthood’s executive Vice President responding to a statement: “Everyone has a right to information about their health care including information about safe, legal abortion and every woman deserves the best medical care and information no matter how much money she makes or where she lives, no matter what. They won't get it under this rule.” That executive Vice President, Dawn Laguens, is joining me now. Dawn, thank you for being on the show today ahead of the announcement from the Trump administration. So the administration is framing this for groups like yours as either stop performing abortions altogether or only operate using private money. Are either of those options palatable for you?
JACKSON: The rule does not ban as some anti-abortion advocates hoped for. It didn't go quite that far. So, why do you say woman — how do you still — can’t you still make the choice to give women information about this?
JACKSON: The rules says you can still do all of those things with federal money, it has to be in a different office space, it can't be in the same physical space. There has to be this wall between these two services. How does Planned Parenthood plan to then move forward under this new rule? What's that mean for your organization’s structure?
JACKSON: Two quick questions for you. Are you planning if this rule does go into effect what Planned Parenthood would do to abide by the regulations if that happens or would the alternate be using private money? Would you give up, forego federal funding?
DAWN LAGUENS: Well, Planned Parenthood, as you'll remember Cecile Richards saying, we will not walk away from the full range of women's reproductive health services.
JACKSON: Not ruling out a lawsuit then, Dawn, right?
LAGUENS: Not ruling out anything in order to make sure that women get the care they need.