NBC Keeps Up Drumbeat of GOP 'War Against Women's Health'

Desperately trying to keep the issue alive for the general election, Tuesday's NBC Nightly News continued to decry the supposed Republican war on women, with anchor Brian Williams proclaiming: "One issue that's been percolating through this presidential primary season, a push by some in the GOP to limit women's access to contraceptives and abortion."

In the report that followed, correspondent Andrea Mitchell promoted left-wing activism against the GOP: "Across the country, protests like this one in Texas, against new state laws restricting access to contraception and other women's health care." One protestor ranted: "It's a war against women's health."

Mitchell touted how it was, "A fight college students took to Mitt Romney in Peoria [Illinois] Monday night." In the clip that followed, a woman is seen hectoring Romney: "So you're all for like, 'yay, freedom.' And all this stuff. 'Yay, like, pursuit of happiness.' You know what would make me happy? Free birth control."

In the exchange, Romney shot back: "If you're looking for free stuff, if you're looking for free stuff you don't have to pay for, vote for the other guy, that's what he's all about. Okay?"

Mitchell warned viewers about Rick Santorum's views on the subject: "[He] has said contraception is not okay, calling it, 'a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.'" She then worried: "In 39 states, legislators with similar views are rolling back access to contraception or abortion or considering proposals."

A sound bite followed of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards: "I think what we're seeing across the country, Andrea, is so many legislatures that are now doing everything they can to shame women, and to make it more difficult for them to get health care."

Remarking on the "growing outrage," Mitchell announced: "And the Obama campaign is ready to take advantage, sending out campaign surrogates with star power." By "sending out," Mitchell really meant that she welcomed Obama supporter and actress Eva Longoria on to her MSNBC show to bash Republicans.

During special Super Tuesday election coverage on March 6, Williams made clear what he thought of the contraception debate: "Who woke up in the Republican Party one day recently and said, 'I know what, let's go after, let's go after reproductive rights in the United States'? What was that about?"


Here is a full transcript of Mitchell's March 20 report:

7:08PM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: One issue that's been percolating through this presidential primary season, a push by some in the GOP to limit women's access to contraceptives and abortion. And it has some political observers wondering how it all might affect the general election. Our report from NBC's Andrea Mitchell.

PROTESTORS: Our lives! Our bodies!

ANDREA MITCHELL: Across the country, protests like this one in Texas, against new state laws restricting access to contraception and other women's health care.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [PROTESTOR]: Maybe they don't want us to have freedom, but we're fighting back.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B [PROTESTOR]: It's a war against women's health.

MITCHELL: A fight college students took to Mitt Romney in Peoria Monday night.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So you're all for like, "yay, freedom." And all this stuff.

MITT ROMNEY: Absolutely.

WOMAN: "Yay, like, pursuit of happiness." You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.

ROMNEY: If you're looking for free stuff, if you're looking for free stuff you don't have to pay for, vote for the other guy, that's what he's all about. Okay?

MITCHELL: Rick Santorum has said contraception is not okay, calling it, "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." In 39 states, legislators with similar views are rolling back access to contraception or abortion or considering proposals.

CECILE RICHARDS [PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD]: I think what we're seeing across the country, Andrea, is so many legislatures that are now doing everything they can to shame women, and to make it more difficult for them to get health care.

MITCHELL: Arizona's legislature would force women to prove to employers they are using birth control for medical reasons not contraception. Pennsylvania would require sonograms before abortions, a proposal the state's governor defended because he said it wouldn't be invasive.

TOM CORBETT [GOVERNOR, R-PA]: I don't know how you make anybody watch, okay? Because you just have to close your eyes. But as long as it's exterior, not interior.

MITCHELL: Comments like his only added to the growing outrage. And the Obama campaign is ready to take advantage, sending out campaign surrogates with star power.

EVA LONGORIA: I think the election's going to be about choice, and it's going to be pretty clear for women who's on their side regarding their health care issues.

MITCHELL: Now Santorum's wife Karen is trying to reassure women her husband won't impose his views on them.

KAREN SANTORUM: I think women have nothing to fear, when it comes to contraceptives, he will do nothing on that issue.

MITCHELL: A gender war that could become a key battleground in the fall campaign. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington.

PROTESTORS: Our lives! Our bodies!

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC