‘Cosmo’ Political Editor: ‘We've Become...A Country Of Have And Have-Nots When It Comes To Abortion’

MSNBC is known for its promotion of abortion and “abortion rights” and on Monday, June 16 its afternoon program The Cycle showed just how over-the-top its activism is.

“The Cyclists” played host to Jill Filipovic, Senior Political Writer at Cosmopolitan.com,  to promote an article she wrote about new abortion laws being pushed in Ohio. During the interview, the Cosmopolitan editor proclaimed that “I mean all of these kind of real horror stories because as you said we've become essentially a country of have and have-nots when it comes to abortion.” [See video below.]   

The “Cosmo” editor was treated to a gushing interview where The Cycle co-host Krystal Ball introduced her guest by fretting:

There is a new battleground in the war over abortion rights and it's not in typically red-state territory. It's a state that went blue for Obama in 2008 and in 2012 but is also one of the nine states that currently ban abortion 20 weeks after fertilization. That state is lovely purple mid-western Ohio, and a new bill under consideration would impose some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the country. 

Ball, who herself is pro-choice, clearly showed sympathy for her guest and asked Filipovic “So tell us, why is Ohio on the front lines here and really pushing the most aggressive abortion restrictions in the country?”

Throughout the interview, only MSNBC’s Josh Barro attempted to be objective in his questioning of the “Cosmo” editor when he wondered “Given that there's a lot of people who believe that there should be certain restrictions on abortions, how does one make the case that the sorts of restrictions being imposed in Ohio are the wrong restrictions to be imposed?”

Filipovic responded by freaking out over Ohio’s decision to enact pro-life legislation into law: “If those two clinics close, Cincinnati will be the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. without an abortion provider. That's very, very scary. And that really is because of the cumulative effect of all of these small laws that individual voters might say, all right, well that sounds reasonable or this sounds reasonable but put them together and the outcome is that women no longer have this fundamental constitutional right.”

Co-host Toure then continued to panic over the new Ohio law: 

So when women lose that fundamental constitutional right, part of what happens is they end up traveling to nearby states, middle class women have the opportunity to do that. Quite easily working class women have a very difficult time getting in a car and going six hours, whatever, taking a day off from work for doing this sort of thing, or women tend to go to unsafe abortion providers, less than professional abortion providers. Are we seeing a rise in the number of folks who are traveling to other states and thus incurring other sorts of penalties or engaging in unsafe providers? 

As the segment concluded, the “Cosmo” editor discussed why her magazine promotes abortion and Krystal Ball followed that up by proudly cheering her on: “I was glad to see it there. Jill Filipovic, thank you so much for explaining this to us.” 

See relevant transcript below. 


MSNBC

The Cycle 

June 16, 2014

KRYSTAL BALL: There is a new battleground in the war over abortion rights and it's not in typically red-state territory. It's a state that went blue for Obama in 2008 and in 2012 but is also one of the nine states that currently ban abortion 20 weeks after fertilization. That state is lovely purple mid-western Ohio, and a new bill under consideration would impose some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the country. Republican State Representative John Becker's bill proposes a ban on insurance coverage for abortion without exception for rape, incest, or even if a mother's life is in jeopardy. Becker's bill also aims to redefine abortion banning coverage for IUD’s and potentially other forms of birth control he maintains are tantamount to abortion because they prevent implantation. "This is just a personal view. I'm not a medical doctor." That's pretty clear. In her new Cosmopolitan article, our next guest reports on Ohio as a hotbed innovator of abortion rights restrictions. And here to talk about what it means there and for the rest of the country is Jill Filipovic, Senior Political Writer at Cosmopolitan.com. Jill, thank you so much for joining us. 

FILIPOVIC: Thank you for having me. 

BALL: So tell us, why is Ohio on the front lines here and really pushing the most aggressive abortion restrictions in the country? 

FILIPOVIC: Well, Ohio has been on the front lines of the abortion battles for a while. But because it is a purple, moderate state it's really been flying under the radar. A two 20-week ban in Ohio passed several years ago and it wasn't until last summer when Wendy Davis filibustered the 20-week ban in Texas that those laws got a lot of attention. Ohio passed a law more than a decade ago that was a precursor to the admitting privileges laws that we're now seeing contested in Alabama, in Texas, in Mississippi, and in Wisconsin. Ohio is one of the first states to really focus on heartbeat laws, which would have outlawed abortion as early as six weeks. So you have a strong anti-choice presence in Ohio and they've really kind of tested things out, realizing that because it's not a red state, because it's kind of unexpected, the national media often just doesn't latch on to what anti-choice groups are doing there. 

JOSH BARRO: NBC did a poll last year about 20-week abortion restrictions and they found there wasn't a majority on either side but more people said they supported such a restriction than opposed it. And broadly when you look at polling on abortion, a lot of people who call themselves pro-life are in favor of certain kinds of legal abortion and people who call themselves pro-choice are in favor of certain restrictions. So given that there's a lot of people who believe that there should be certain restrictions on abortions, how does one make the case that the sorts of restrictions being imposed in Ohio are the wrong restrictions to be imposed?

FILIPOVIC: Well, what the pro-life movement has done in Ohio is now what they’re doing throughout the rest of the country which is kind of this death by a thousand cuts approach, where they’re just really chipping away little by little. So, none of these laws by themselves sound all that egregious. But when you put them together they really create an environment where abortion is almost impossible to get. So in Ohio today the last clinic in Toledo is facing closure. And two clinics in Cincinnati might close. If those two clinics close, Cincinnati will be the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. without an abortion provider. That's very, very scary. And that really is because of the cumulative effect of all of these small laws that individual voters might say, all right, well that sounds reasonable or this sounds reasonable but put them together and the outcome is that women no longer have this fundamental constitutional right. 

TOURE: So when women lose that fundamental constitutional right, part of what happens is they end up traveling to nearby states, middle class women have the opportunity to do that. Quite easily working class women have a very difficult time getting in a car and going six hours, whatever, taking a day off from work for doing this sort of thing, or women tend to go to unsafe abortion providers, less than professional abortion providers. Are we seeing a rise in the number of folks who are traveling to other states and thus incurring other sorts of penalties or engaging in unsafe providers? 

FILIPOVIC:  Definitely. In Ohio you're seeing women cross state lines and that's been the case there for several years. I was just in Texas in the Rio Grande Valley where abortion rights have been restricted substantially and heard stories about women buying abortion pills from local flea marks, going to Mexico to procure abortions there, even drinking a hot beer because they've heard that will induce an abortion. I mean all of these kind of real horror stories because as you said we've become essentially a country of have and have-nots when it comes to abortion. Women who are on the coast and relatively economically stable have access to this constitutional right. Women who live in the south and vast sections of the Midwest especially if they're working class or poor no longer have access and that's not how the constitution is supposed to work. That’s not how fundamental human rights are supposed to work. 

BALL: Yea, I mean as you’re pointing out, if you're middle class, it’s one thing to drive across the state border, it's an inconvenience. If you're poor or working class it may be an utter impossibility. But you know, I was really interested in your article and struck by it. Abortion obviously very divisive, very political issue. What made Cosmo want to tackle problem?

FILIPOVIC: Cosmo is a women's magazine and we focus on a female audience. And I think Cosmo has a very long tradition of covering especially sexual health issues and right now I think we're realizing that in the world we live in, especially online and on a website like Cosmopolitan.com where you have such an active female audience, you really can't exist without some sort of political component. You know, young women today, yes, they're interested in hair and makeup tips and sex tips and the kind of usual Cosmo content but they're also interested in reproductive rights, in sexual health, and in equality and social justice issues. 

BALL: Yeah, I couldn't agree more, I was glad to see it there. Jill Filipovic, thank you so much for explaining this to us.

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