MSNBC's Hayes Lauds Obama's 'History-Making' Abortion Speech, Laments Word 'Abortion' Not Used

On Friday's All In show on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes not only praised President Obama for being the first sitting President to speak to Planned Parenthood in the group's history, but he also seemed to lament the fact that pro-choice Democrats are not confident enough to actually use the word "abortion" more openly, as he noted that the President avoided the word during his speech.

The MSNBC host asserted that the President "made history" as he plugged the segement before a commercial break: "President Obama made history today doing something that took 97 years for a President to do. That's coming up."

He later called the speech "history-making" in a second plug during a commercial break: "A history-making speech by the President and a histrionic congressional hearing. I'll tell you the political implications of both events."

Without mentioniong Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger or her support for eugenics, Hayes introduced the segment:

Planned Parenthood was founded nearly 100 years ago. And since that day, no sitting President of the United States has ever addressed the group. That is, until today, when Barack Obama spoke to the group in Washington, D.C. You will not be surprised to hear he received a raucus welcome.

After playing clips from Obama's speech, Hayes recounted his perception that Democrats are starting to win on cultural issues like abortion and then brought aboard Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, as a guest.

The MSNBC host ended the segment by noting that Democrats like Obama are still reluctant to use the word "abortion" even as they defend groups like Planned Parenthood. Hayes:

You said the Democrats in 2012 -- and I agree they were more open about their support for reproductive choice than I'd seen them in a long time -- but it is notable to me that the real battle was fought on the terrain of birth control rather than abortion, and it was notable to me that when Planned Parenthood was defended, when the Republicans came after them, they were defended for the health services they provided to women, and they talked about how abortion was a small amount of what they do, and it was notable to me the President did not use the word "abortion" today in his speech.

After O'Neil jumped in to confirm, "He didn't," Hayes continued: "Right, so that's, the question is, like, yes, there's been some progress, but it still seems to me that Democrats do not want to use that word."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, April 26, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

CHRIS HAYES, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:15 P.M.: President Obama made history today doing something that took 97 years for a President to do. That's coming up.

(...)

HAYES, DURING COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:17 P.M.: A history-making speech by the President and a histrionic congressional hearing. I'll tell you the political implications of both events.

(...)

HAYES: Planned Parenthood was founded nearly 100 years ago. And since that day, no sitting President of the United States has ever addressed the group. That is, until today, when Barack Obama spoke to the group in Washington, D.C. You will not be surpised to hear he received a raucus welcome.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA CLIP #1: One thing the past few years have shown, it's that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. It's not going anywhere today. It's not going anywhere tomorrow.

OBAMA CLIP #2: As long as we've got to fight to make sure women have access to quality affordable health care, and as long as we've got to fight to protect a woman's right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you've also got a President who's gonna be right there with you, fighting every step of the way.

HAYES: Now, the political context of the President's speaking to Planned Parenthood is pretty remarkable. He's leaning into precisely the type of political battle that Democrats have so long shied away from. It was Pat Buchanan who first proposed to Richard Nixon a strategy of so-called wedge issues -- railing against crime and busing, for instance -- telling Nixon he could, quote, "cut the Democratic Party and country in half; my view is that we would have by far the larger half."

But the demographics of the Obama coalition have fundamentally changed the political calculations on a whole host of culture war issues. Democrats now just as often find themselves with, to quote Buchanan, "the larger half." And not just on women's issues. It's immigration and gay marriage, exactly the kind of issues Democrats were previously in a defensive crouch on, now they have embraced. They are picking fights on issues they used to avoid, both because they believe in their positions, and because the coalition they've crafted means that they can be with the majority of their voters.

This is particularly true on the birth control issue, which blossomed last year partly thanks to Rick Santorum, who famously called it "dangerous" and "counter to how things are supposed to be." And partly thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover birth control with no copay. Perhaps not coincidentally, Barack Obama went on to win young women by 34 points over Mitt Romney.

Obama speaking to Planned Parenthood today, something no other sitting President has dared to do, is a nod to that margin, and an open ackowledgement of how the ascendancy of the Obama coalition is changing how the culture wars are fought in a very fundamental way.

Joining me tonight, Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. It's wonderful to have you here. You have been in this fight for some time, and I'm curious what you made of the President making history today, talking to Planned Parenthood, and what that means about the trajectory of where we are on women's rights and reproductive choice.

(...)

Let me ask you this question, finally, here. You said the Democrats in 2012 -- and I agree they were more open about their support for reproductive choice than I'd seen them in a long time -- but it is notable to me that the real battle was fought on the terrain of birth control rather than abortion, and it was notable to me that when Planned Parenthood was defended, when the Republicans came after them, they were defended for the health services they provided to women, and they talked about how abortion was a small amount of what they do, and it was notable to me the President did not use the word "abortion" today in his speech.

TERRY O'NEILL, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: He didn't.

HAYES: Right, so that's, the question is, like, yes, there's been some progress, but it still seems to me that Democrats do not want to use that word.