MSNBC’s Irin Carmon Whines About New ‘Abortion Restrictions’ in Texas

MSNBC’s Irin Carmon -- the New York Abortion Access Fund's 2013 Champion for Choice award winner-- never hesitates in showing her support for “reproductive rights.” Whether it be in the newly established MSNBC.com website or on the airwaves of MSNBC, Carmon bemoans any attempts made by state legislatures to make abortion clinics safer through health department regulation.

It should come as no surprise then that a January 6 piece by Ms. Carmon -- and her subsequent appearance alongside MSNBC host Thomas Roberts during his 11 a.m. Eastern program -- would strike a similar tone to her previous work on the subject of abortion. Carmon began her story by huffing that:

The constitutionality of two of Texas’s abortion restrictions is being debated in a federal appeals court here. But for Texans seeking abortions, the full weight of the law, most of which is already in force, is anything but theoretical.

Carmon continued on the same vein on the January 6 MSNBC Live program with Roberts:

They have attorneys for the clinics and attorneys for the states basically arguing over how bad does a law have to be in order to violate the Supreme Court's standard that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion? 

In her MSNBC.com story, Carmon expressed her discontent with the judges on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ history on abortion:

For now, three Fifth Circuit judges – all female, all appointed by Republican presidents, and all of whom have shown a hostility to reproductive rights in the past – will question attorneys for the state and for several abortion providers challenging the law. 

Carmon took her sentiments even further on air, complaining:

There are two clinics that had to close in that region. This was brought up repeatedly in today's hearing. They pointed out that even though it was already pretty bad for Texas women in terms of abortion access, this law, HB-2, has made it worse. 

Nowhere in her pro-abortion-rights rants did Carmon bother to explain exactly how these abortion clinics “had to close” ignoring the fact that these clinics chose not to make the necessary upgrades to comply with Texas law.

What’s worse is that Roberts and Carmon decided to hype the liberal website Talking Points Memo and Think Progress with, what else, a racial angle thrown in for good measure:

Several civil rights group filed an official complaint against Jones alleging that she claimed that African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed towards violent crime and on abortion, Jones urged the Supreme Court to, quote, reevaluate Roe V. Wade.

Carmon’s online piece is slanted in a similar fashion, peppered with quotes from abortion supporters, including the Center for Reproductive Rights and the CEO of an abortion clinic in the Rio Grande Valley. Carmon’s piece doesn’t bother to quote supporters of the law, as much like her past articles on abortion serve more to cheerlead the abortion industry than provided balanced coverage on the subject.

Carmon concluded her MSNBC.com story by whining one last time that:

The worst may be yet to come. The state only just issued specific regulations requiring that all abortions be performed in ambulatory surgical centers, authorized under the same omnibus abortion bill. According to Hagstrom Miller, of the 23 clinics with physicians who have admitting privileges, there are only six that currently have that certification, which can costs millions to achieve. An estimated 60,000 Texan women seek abortions every year. 

 

See relevant transcript below.


MSNBC

MSNBC LIVE

JANUARY 6, 2014

11:43 a.m. Eastern

THOMAS ROBERTS: Today, the conservative 5th U.S. Court of Appeals in New York -- excuse me, in New Orleans, took up the new Texas law that’s shuttered more than a third of that state’s abortion clinics. Now the case comes as states had passed an unprecedented 205 abortion restrictions in the past three years. That's 16 more than the number passed during the entire first decade of this century. The goal, targeting abortion providers, medical abortions, and bans after 20 weeks. MSNBC.com national reporter Irin Carmon just left the 5th Circuit in New Orleans and joins me now. Irin It's important to note that these restrictions began taking place after Republicans took control many state legislatures in the 2010 midterm elections, but with Texas standing out as the most prominent example in all of this, let's talk about Planned Parenthood, because it has led this suit to block two of the provisions, Texas has enacted. One requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Another restricts how doctors administer abortion-inducing drugs. So what happened during the arguments today? 

IRIN CARMON: Well, Thomas, today a coalition of abortion providers in Texas challenged -- who have challenged the law, said that the district court's ruling that two provisions of these laws are unconstitutional should stand, but what has happened is the law has been allowed to take into effect in Texas, thus shattering a third of the clinics. Basically, the Supreme Court declined to stop the law from going into effect, despite the fact that the district court said it was unconstitutional, so right now it's going to appeal. They have attorneys for the clinics and attorneys for the states basically arguing over how bad does a law have to be in order to violate the Supreme Court's standard that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion? 

ROBERTS: Alright, so let's talk specifically the effects in Texas as a result of the restrictions and we’ll take a peek at the map here, because more than a dozen of the state's 34 abortion clinics, they've closed, leaving two dozen open, but none in the Rio Grande Valley, and this is where according to your article, the nearest clinic is four and a half hours away and at least a two-day affair. So, explain this part, because with Texas forced ultrasounds and then the waiting period requirements, how big of a challenge is this for women here and that are living in that area? 

CARMON: Thomas, you nailed it on the head. That's exactly what women in the Rio Grande Valley and in other rural areas of Texas are facing right now. There are two clinics that had to close in that region, this was brought up repeatedly in today's hearing. They pointed out that even though it was already pretty bad for Texas women in terms of abortion access, this law, HB-2, has made it worse. A lot of the judges were asking, well, isn't that just because doctors don't want to provide abortions or isn't Texas just a very big state, but the reality is that before the law, some women were able to obtain abortions and now many women are not. So the question that the court is going to have to say is how many women have to suffer, how many women have to not access the medical care that they want to receive in order for this law to be unconstitutional.

ROBERTS: Alright, so two of the judges on this panel, of the panel, three have already issued these preliminary findings in favor of the state, but if we talk a little about this judge, her name being Edith Jones, is former Chief Justice on the conservative court there, Talking Points Memo has quite a damning tally of her opinions. The article pointing out that several civil rights group filed an official complaint against Jones alleging that she claimed that African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed towards violent crime and on abortion, Jones urged the Supreme Court to, quote, reevaluate Roe V. Wade. Whatever the outcome, it's widely believed the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide on that case. So Irin, what do you see happening this week especially, and what if, the role that is, if any of these are going to play in the 2014 midterms?

CARMON: Well, to start with, Jones was a very aggressive presence in the courtroom today. She pushed back a lot. She was the first person to bring up Kermit Gosnell, who is a favorite example of the right to justify these restrictions, even though the American Medical Association and the American College Obstetricians and Gynecologists have said that they are not medically necessary, so she very clearly made her opinions known. The other two judges who are a little bit younger and less firebrand also made it seem like they were going to rule in favor of the state and keep the laws in place. More broadly, you know, there's a real 2014 story here, because these are the same laws that Wendy Davis was filibustering and they are being defended by Greg Abbott, who is her opponent for Governor of Texas on the Republican ticket.

ROBERTS: MSNBC.com's Irin Carmon. Fascinating stuff Irin. Thanks so much. We appreciate your time.

CARMON: Thank you, Thomas. 

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