MSNBC’s Roberts Conducts Yet Another One-sided Discussion on Abortion Regulations

When it comes to the subject of abortion, the folks at MSNBC fail to show any sense of objectivity or desire to offer viewers different points of view, standing clearly on the side of abortion rights absolutists. Take for example a July 15 discussion in which liberal MSNBCer Thomas Roberts brought on two pro-choice activists to lambast Republicans in Texas and North Carolina for passing new safety regulations for abortion clinics.

Roberts began his slanted segment by lamenting that, “2013 that shaping up to be the worst years for reproductive freedom since abortion was first legalized in this country.” Roberts then groaned that abortion clinics might close under the new laws:

The claim that raising the bar for clinics will increase women's health and safety. However the reality is all but five abortion clinics in Texas shown on the map created by Stand With Texas Women would be shut down. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]

To amplify his complaint, Roberts brought on Janet Colm, president of Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, as well as Sarah Slamen, a Texan whom Roberts labeled a “women’s rights activist.” Roberts began his interview by beaming over Ms. Slamen’s actions in front of a Texas legislative panel.  “Everyone on [the] Internet can see that and now right here as well,” he gushed before prompting Slamen to tell the audience at home her plans for the future:

Explain to all of us what is next for someone like you who has taken up this fight and also has provided a platform for yourself now because of your passion behind it?

Rather than bring on someone of the pro-life movement to mix things up, Roberts instead chose to frame the debate purely from the pro-abortion rights side, slamming the right for passing legislation that would improve the safety and health standards for women seeking abortions in North Carolina and Texas. It's par for the course for MSNBC, but it's hardly responsible, balanced journalism, nor is it interesting television.

 

See relevant transcript below.


MSNBC

MSNBC Live

July 15, 2013

11:21 a.m. Eastern

THOMAS ROBERTS: So 2013 that’s shaping up to be the worst years for reproductive freedom since abortion was first legalized in this country. States have taken on record-breaking number of abortion restrictions this year and soon you’ll be able to add both Texas and North Carolina to that list. The claim that raising the bar for clinics will increase women's health and safety. However the reality is all but five abortion clinics in Texas shown on the map created by Stand With Texas Women would be shut down. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst changed the color and tweeted the same map implying closing those clinics was merely an added benefit of sweeping new restrictions. And this, the Huffington Post graphic points out that low income residents in rural areas are the ones that will be most greatly impacted forcing thousands of women to drive hundreds of mil for proper treatment. Or across the border to find flea markets and illegal Mexican pharmacies where drugs approved for us in the U.S. are being prescribed in dangerous ways and causing incomplete abortions, continuous bleeding, premature birth and uterine rupture. About 72,000 in Texas annually meaning after the new laws in Texas take affect, centers previously carrying out 4,000 abortions per year will skyrocket to an estimated 14,000. Joining me right now is women's rights activists Sarah Slamen and president of Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, Janet Colm. Ladies it’s great to have you here. And Sarah you were the one a lot of people have probably seen this. You were the one that was dragged out of the Texas capitol last week while expressing your outrage over the restrictions in the bill. I want to remind everybody. Take a look.

Let's start down the line. Senator campbell you're an ophthalmologist so I won't be making you the expert on reproductive health we can give you all of the children with Chlamydia and herpes in their eyes sine we don’t have sex-ed in the state. And Senator Haygaur you are about as helpful-- excuse me, this is my government, ma'am. Everyone on the internet can see what you're doing right now. This is a farce. The Texas legislators are a bunch of liars who hate women.

ROBERTS: Everyone on internet can see that and now right here as well. Governor Rick Perry has vowed to sign this law it could take effect in a matter of weeks. So explain to all of us what is next for someone like you who has taken up this fight and also has provided a platform for yourself now because of your passion behind it?

SARAH SLAMEN: Hi, Thomas. Thanks so much for having me on. What is next for Texas is that since the legislative branch has failed us so miserably we’re now relying on a kind of shaky judicial branch. We now have to look towards injunctions being filed that will ultimately head for the fifth circuit court of appeals. Now the ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made successful rulings and stopped the laws that have been passed in Idaho and Arizona the very similar restrictive 20-week abortion laws. Fortunately Texas has to rely on the fifth court of appeals. That’s the court that upheld the 2011 mandatory transvaginal ultrasound bill that’s being overturned in other states so we have to keep up momentum. We have to keep up political pressure and we have to keep up the solidarity between all the women and allies in Texas because we have to look towards another branch of government right now that has been subject to political pressure in the past.

ROBERTS: So as you look for solidarity let's talk about North Carolina. And Janet, you were arrested during what was supposed to be something a little more peaceful last week's moral Monday protests fighting sneak attack legislation attached to a motorcycle safety bill that threatens to close your all of your state's non-hospital affiliated abortion clinics. And now North Carolina freshman Governor Pat McCrory is back pedaling on his pre-election vow that he wouldn't let that happen. Explain to all of us how the governor can so blatantly contradict himself and also explain the chances that either of these laws will hold up in court.

JANET COLM: Well, I think you have to talk to the governor to ask him to explain about himself. We continue to be hopeful that he’s going to be a little bit more deliberative about this. I think it's really important for people to understand that this bill is really just a laundry list of all the anti-choice legislation that could hope to pass in North Carolina, including prohibiting local governments from providing insurance options for their employees. So it's beyond the facility regulations and really goes to a much wider net than that.

ROBERTS: Sarah, I want to talk about this because I'm not sure if a lot of people know about what Salon has pointed out. They did so last week. Emphasizing that the Texas Governor Rick Perry's sister Milla Perry Jones is an executive at a company that operates ambulatory surgical centers so they are tied directly to this and she has been a lobbyist for a long time in the state of Texas. The governor has declined to comment on this. But what is your reaction to what appears to be a massive conflict of interest basically, that any of these procedures will now have to be done at those ambulatory clinics, the five that are in the state, meaning that they line their pockets with what they are so against?

SLAMEN: You know, Thomas in Texas, it's a new day, same story about Governor Perry. You know, when he came out surprisingly in support of mandating HPV vaccines for middle school girls we found out he had a tie to those companies too. The fact is that the political pact that the surgical alliance centers and doctor owned hospitals contribute to have thrown 4 million into Texas state politics over the last decade and that is a lot of money for these Republicans and some Democrats in the Texas legislature to turn away from, apparently. We knew immediately during the hearings that this was a hot point. People kept bringing it up in testimony and at one point, Senator Bob Dule read what appeared to be a prepared statement in response king of trying to shame the women in the room saying there is no need to bring this up, we don't need to impugn the character of anyone. I think I will go directly towards impugning the character of a governor and his sister who would limit health care access for half the population Texas in the guise of our health and it just goes to support them financially.

ROBERTS: Sarah Slamen and Janet Colm, thank you ladies both for coming on here. I appreciate your time today.

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