MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts Uses False Abortion Story to Smear Conservatives

Leave it to MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts to attempt to smear the pro-life movement on the day of the March for Life with a misleading story about a law introduced in New Mexico regarding abortion. Roberts erroneously reported on a New Mexico state legislator named Cathrynn Brown, who, “introduced a bill that would force rape victims to carry their babies to term and their babies would be used as evidence during a court trial… Under the bill, a rape victim who had an abortion would be thrown in jail for tampering with evidence.”

Roberts brought on Pat Davis, the Executive Director of Progress Now in New Mexico to bash the bill, which, by the way, Roberts completely mischaracterized. What the bill actually would do is make it a crime for a rapist to pressure his victim into undergoing an abortion.  [See video after jump.  MP3 audio here.]

Davis railed against “a growing caucus of these Tea Party and crazy conservatives on the right" who are "doing what they can with some of these sleeper bills they hope nobody would notice.”

Roberts clearly showed his pro-abortion sentiments in misreporting this story by asking Davis to:

Explain to us the new normal for a state legislature, you know, state legislator in New Mexico is to actually have a woman come forward to say, you know, admit that she's been raped, she's impregnated and then they’re going to make her carry that baby to term?

Had Roberts done some basic research, however, he would have realized the law is designed to do no such thing. In fact, as the bill itself says, the crime (emphasis mine), “shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime." 

State Representative Cathrynn Brown said the purpose of the bill was to target perpetrators of rape of incest who try to cover their tracks by forcing their victims to have abortions.  Brown does say that she will clarify the language in the bill to remove any ambiguity that victims of rape would be charged, which she in no way desires to do.

Roberts’ disgusting attempts at smearing pro-life individuals and failing to show any semblance of journalism is shameful.  Had he done his homework, Roberts could have gotten the story straight, but that would have ruined the fun of bringing on a liberal guest to smear pro-lifers as radicals.

 

See relevant transcript below.


MSNBC

MSNBC Live

January 25, 2013

11:35 a.m. EST

THOMAS ROBERTS: Moments from now, anti-abortion advocates will gather in D.C. for the March for Life. House Speaker John Boehner, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum are among those who will be speaking there. And that's their right to march. But over the last few years, we've seen women's health rights come under a vicious attack from Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell pushing an invasive ultrasound bill to lawmakers in Mississippi trying to push personhood bills and even Senatorial candidates like Todd Akin saying women's bodies had a way of shutting down pregnancies during a legitimate rape. But now a lawmaker has introduced a bill that would force rape victims to carry their babies to term and their babies would be used as evidence during a court trial. Under the bill sponsored by the state representative, Cathrynn Brown, a rape victim who had an abortion would be thrown in jail for tampering with evidence. Tampering with evidence. Joining me is Pat Davis, the Executive Director of Progress Now in New Mexico. It's great to have you here, Pat. You are on the front lines of what's going on there. Obviously, trying to steer people in the right direction of information when it comes to a policy like this. So explain how the progressive agenda in New Mexico is trying to combat what Cathrynn Brown is trying to do.

PAT DAVIS: Good morning, Thomas. Thanks for having us. You know, as we look at what happened -- exactly what's happening in Washington and what’s happening here in Santa Fe and across this country folks are coming out to celebrate and recognize protections for women and Roe v. Wade and this week we have people in our Tea Party caucus that are introducing bills like this. And, you know, I don't think they ever thought there would be this big firestorm of controversy behind it. But the same things we're seeing in Virginia are what are happening in states like this. New Mexico is traditionally a pretty progressive community. We have moved forward on protecting women's rights for years. But there are -- there's a growing caucus of these Tea Party and crazy conservatives on the right who are opposed to that kind of progress and they are doing what they can with some of these sleeper bills they hope nobody would notice.

THOMAS: Pat, I want to play for you what Jean Monahan president of March for Life said this morning on The Daily Rundown about the current anti-abortion movement. Take a listen.

JEAN MONAHAN: If you went to the march today you'd see a number of young, shining energetic faces. This isn't an extreme radical issue. This is the new normal.

THOMAS: Alright, so this is the new normal. So explain to us the new normal for a state legislature, you know, state legislator in New Mexico is to actually have a woman come forward to say, you know, admit that she's been raped, she's impregnated and then they’re going to make her carry that baby to term?

DAVIS: That's exactly right Thomas. That's exactly what this bill said. If you think about Todd Akin's legitimate rape comments and how that sort of exposed a big section of the right wing ideology, this is the next step of that. It's saying if you were raped, as victims of rape, survivors and of rape if you want to prove your case, we're going to require you to carry your baby to term so we can label it exhibit a and trot it out into a courtroom. And without that you have essentially destroyed the evidence that they would use to prosecute this. I mean it is such an extreme and odd bill. But at the same time it's a natural extension if you think about it, from that right wing sort of perspective. But what's even more scary is this bill was introduced in the first 24 hours got ten republican co-sponsors for it before we raised the flag. I think this is something that we’re really having to watch.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.