Yesterday was the annual "March for Life" this time attended by Vice-President Mike Pence. Discussing the issue on Joy Ann Reid's panel today was Democratic Strategist Jess McIntosh, Alencia Johnson of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and a woman who will need no introduction after today, Kristan Hawkins, President, Students for Life. She makes close to $90,000 doing her damnedest to force her ultra-right wing fundamentalist views on everyone else.
Somehow Hawkins isn't concerned about the costs of expensive OB-GYN care. In order to save the life of a baby born prematurely or the care the mother would need after going through with a risky pregnancy, who would pay for that? Not the folks who want to take insurance away from millions. Not her buddies at the Heritage Foundation and Americans For Prosperity.
Keep in mind that Kristan represents the insanely misogynist policy standpoint of fundamentalist "Christians" like 'Small Government' Mike Pence, who can't stay out of a woman's reproductive organs. After she exposed her views, Kristan was not pleased with the reaction from AM Joy's followers, who saw right through her birth-at-all-costs cruelty. She really made quite an impact on the discussion, as it always heightens the intensity of a debate when one person's views are so far out in right field, it stuns both the panel and the TV audience.
We interrupt the discussion in progress: [transcript]
JOHNSON: Whether you're personally against abortion doesn't matter. What matters is that you choose, that you support a woman's right to choose whether or not she will have an abortion.
MCINTOSH: Of course a majority of millennial women don't oppose abortion, you can't get to numbers like seven in ten --
HAWKINS: 53% --
REID: Hold on. You're new to this so i'm going to say, Kristan, you're new to this, here is the deal. We can only talk one at a time because nobody can hear anybody if you're talking over each other. It's bad radio.
MCINTOSH: It's important to put a pin on that particular point. If you personally believe that abortion is not the correct choice for you, obviously we're thrilled to march with you. If you then take that and extend it to other women, saying I'm going to make that choice for you, that was where the exclusivity ran out. It's about making sure we stand up for women.
REID: Kristan, you have a lot of conservative Christian voters, Donald Trump won about 80% of evangelical voters, partly on this idea that he was going to make the Supreme Court more conservative or at least keep it the same way as it was when Scalia was in. The two people that Donald Trump has proposed putting on the Supreme Court, you have a judge named Gorsuch, Neil Gorsuch, he's a tenth circuit appeals court judge. You also have Pryor, and his name is William Pryor, another appeals court judge from the 11th circuit from Alabama. If one of these judges were to get in, let's just say in your ideal situation, Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, what would happen to a woman at risk of dying giving birth, do you expect that woman to die to give birth?
HAWKINS: Abortion was illegal in our country. Those statistics are false, the two abortionists who made those statistics up admitted later on they had falsified those statistics.
REID: I don't know -- we can't just say things that I don't know who you're talking about. Do you have names of the people you're talking about?
HAWKINS: Lincolnson and Larry co-founders of NARAL.
REID: If abortion were illegal and a woman were at risk of death if she did not terminate her pregnancy --
HAWKINS: Those cases are extremely rare.
REID: What should happen?
HAWKINS: When we talk about cases where a woman's life is in danger, at risk of death, we talk about when the O.B. is treating two patients. You don't go into that situation with saying you have one patient. You have two patients. And sometimes children are delivered early. They're delivered early to give the mother every chance of life and also to give the child every chance of life. They don't go inside of her and dismember her child.
REID: You think a woman should face the risk of death in order to give birth?
HAWKINS: I'm not saying that. We can give her and her child the best chance at life. Medical technology is astounding. One of my interns last year survived being born 21 weeks in utero. There's no chance where a woman is going to say we have to abort this child. You deliver the child and you give the child every chance, all the medical resuscitation, and you treat that child. And maybe that child won't survive because our technology is not able to sustain his or her life. But we don't go inside of her and chop up that baby or give that baby a heart attack.
MCINTOSH: This is a really important point for why these decisions need to be left up to women and medical doctors. I think it is really critical that especially in these life or death situations, it's a doctor and not an idealogue making these decisions.
HAWKINS: Abortions aren't for that case. That's only about 3% of abortions, are rape, incest, or the true life of the mother,
REID: What about a 12-year-old who is impregnated by a relative or her father?
HAWKINS: I believe that child should not suffer the death penalty for the crimes of his father.
REID: So you think a 12-year-old should be forced to give birth? By the state?
HAWKINS: I think a child deserves to live.
REID: My specific question. My specific question.
HAWKINS: A child should not be destroyed for the crimes of his father. I want Roe v. Wade to be overturned. I think the decision goes back to the states. I never think a child should be destroyed for the crimes of his father.
JOHNSON: So Roe v. Wade has been law of the land for 44 years. We suspect any Supreme Court justice to uphold that law. I want to pivot back. Eliminating access to abortion will not eliminate abortion. It will make abortion unsafe.
HAWKINS: Women are dying today --
REID: Hold on. You have no statistics to back that up.
JOHNSON: There's a record low of abortion because of more funding for family planning and reproductive services.
REID: Let's go through really quickly, we have a bunch of stuff here. The cost of what -- if we no longer cover contraception under the Affordable Care Act, how much would an IUD cost across the United States?. We have a map of that. That's Element 7, sorry, for my producers. This is the cost of what it will look like if we don't have the ACA. map, mammograms would go up --
HAWKINS: Mammograms that Planned Parenthood doesn't do!
JOHNSON: We do breast cancer screenings, just like any other health care provider.
REID Hold on. Actually Lindsey works for Planned Parenthood, so she's the expert of what Planned Parenthood does or doesn't do. Are you saying you know more about Planned Parenthood than she does?
HAWKINS: I read their annual reports that show their cancer screenings have been slashed, their prenatal services have dropped in half. While their taxpayer dollars have gone up, they've only increased their share of the abortion industry. Now Planned Parenthood commits one in every three abortions.
REID: Let's let her answer that.
JOHNSON: Just like any other medical health care provider, even my ob/gyn, you go in for a cancer screening and you're referred out for a mammogram.
MCINTOSH: You can't get a mammogram without that referral.
REID: Do you worry, Jess, that we're also going to get into the area where we're starting to talk about the legality of contraception?
MCINTOSH: Oh, my gosh, yes. The fact that we have a president who has been on the wrong side, on both wrong sides of this issue.
HAWKINS: We're not talking about contraceptives here.
MCINTOSH: When you said that women ought to be punished for having abortion, and he went obviously on the wrong side of the antichoice issue when he said that he was pro-choice and believed that. This is a guy who clearly has no principles to stand on here. So he's willing to take it as far as I think so is politically necessary to do so. That could obviously target birth control.
[Crosstalk Hawkins interrupting]
REID: Hold on, hold on, time out, time out. We're out of time. I want to try to see if we end on at least one note of agreement. Is everyone around this table and virtually, agree that contraception should be legal? Kristan?
HAWKINS: I believe certain forms can be legal, yes.
REID: What forms should be legal?
HAWKINS: I don't believe abortion causing contraception should be legal, no.
REID: What kind of contraception are you talking about?
HAWKINS: Hormonal contraception.
REID: You think IUDs should be illegal?
HAWKINS: I don't think they should be legal.
REID: Interesting. All right.
HAWKINS: They put women at risk and they kill children.
REID: What about the birth control pill?
HAWKINS: I do not think it should be legal. I think personally that shouldn't be legal. That's not what we're talking about.
REID: No, but -- hold on, hold on. About. You're saying that the pill should not be legal. But you just said -- I just -- hold on, hold on, Kristan, Kristan, Kristan, we can't talk at the same time. I just want clarity. You think that the pill and IUD should be illegal, right?.
HAWKINS: In my ideal world, yes. But I don't think that's something we're working towards in the pro-life movement. In the pro-life movement we're working towards abolishing abortion. That's why we want Planned Parenthood's money to go to health centers which do do contraception.
REID: We've gotten some real clarity, I think the American people have gotten quite a bit of clarity on what your movement wants to do.
I think George Carlin said it best: