CNN's Chetry Lets Abortionist Smear Pro-Life Demonstrators

CNN anchor Kiran Chetry let an “abortion provider” from Alabama, whose center was bombed by captured fugitive Eric Rudolph, denigrate all pro-life activists who have ever protested in front of such centers as potential murderers during a segment on Monday’s “American Morning.” When the “provider,” Diane Derzis, attacked “the people...who stand in front of these clinics every day....and the only way they see to take care of this is to kill us,” Chetry merely replied, “You don’t believe those words? You don’t differentiate between people who are opposed to abortion and pro-life for their religious reasons, versus those who are promoting violence?” (audio clips from the segment available here)

Chetry’s second question to Derzis during the interview was also rather sympathetic: “What is it like going to work knowing you have a target on your head?” This question, highlighted by Laura Ingraham on Monday, led the talk show host to call for the firing of the CNN anchor.

The anchor began her interview of the abortion clinic owner by asking for her reaction to the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller, who was gunned down in his church in Wichita, Kansas on Sunday. Once she offered her initial reply, Chetry followed-up by explaining Derzis’s connection to past violence against such clinics and asking her “target” question: “Your clinic was the one that was bombed, actually, as well, right, in Birmingham, Alabama, by Eric Rudolph, the suspect who’s now serving time because of that. What is it like going to work knowing you have a target on your head?”

After Derzis included a statement of pride in her work as an “abortion provider,” Chetry seemed to empathize either further with her: “And when you say you love what you do, can you explain more about that for people who, you know, understand what a contentious situation it is- it’s a choice that no one wants to have to make- people make it obviously. But when you say you love what you do, explain that.”

The CNN anchor then read a statement by Christian Defense Coalition leader Reverend Pat Mahoney, who denounced the murder of Tiller, and included his view that he didn’t “know of one legitimate pro-life leader who would not unequivocally condemn this.” Derzis flatly called that view a “lie,” and when Chetry asked her to just clarify, she went much further:

DERZIS: These people- the rhetoric these people espoused calls for our deaths, every day, in front of these clinics. You know, he’s saying that only because of the timing of this particular shooting....These people have put the target on our chest, on our backs....The people, by and large, who stand in front of these clinics every day have their own agenda, and that agenda is to do away with abortion in whatever way they can. The election of Barack Obama put them in a corner. They’re losing, and the only way they see to take care of this is to kill us. This is just the first of what I foresee as many more.
Chetry continued her sympathetic treatment of Derzis, exhibiting concern in her question that late-term abortions might become unavailable: “And this is certainly an uncomfortable question to ask, but, you know, it kind of- it makes you wonder, in all the articles I was reading, it said that Doctor Tiller was one of three doctors in this country that perform late-term abortion....So what happens if, you know, God forbid, there’s more violence- there’s more killing. Would that end late- the ability for late-term abortion?” It’s no wonder that Ingraham would call for the anchor’s firing.

The full transcript of Kiran Chetry’s interview of Diane Derzis, which began 11 minutes in to the 7 am Eastern hour of Monday’s “American Morning:”
KIRAN CHETRY: Welcome back to ‘the most news in the morning.’ A 51-year-old man, identified as Scott Roeder, is expected to be charged later today with the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller. Tiller was gunned down in Wichita, Kansas at his church yesterday.

Diane Derzis owns the New Women [sic] Health Care Clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s a clinic that  provides abortions and has for more than three decades. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Now, you knew Doctor Tiller for years. What was your reaction when you heard about this shooting?

DIANE DERZIS, OWNER, NEW WOMAN, ALL WOMEN HEALTH CARE CLINIC: Absolutely stunned- also not surprised. We’ve all known that something like this was going to happen. The question was, who was it going to happen to?

CHETRY: You- your clinic was the one that was bombed, actually, as well, right, in Birmingham, Alabama, by Eric Rudolph, the suspect who’s now serving time because of that-

DERZIS: Right.

CHETRY: What is it like going to work knowing you have a target on your head?

DERZIS: It’s- it’s been like that for many years. You know, every abortion provider in this country knows what kind of atmosphere we work in. We have these people in front of the clinics that- these antics would not be allowed in any other business, but it’s part of what we do. And I think you would have the hundreds of abortionists tell you the same thing- that we are all proud of what we do, we love what we do, that we do serve women, and that we do so knowing what the risks are.

CHETRY: And when you say you love what you do, can you explain more about that for people who, you know, understand what a contentious situation it is- it’s a choice that no one wants to have to make- people make it obviously. But when you say you love what you do, explain that.

DERZIS: You know, you can’t meet and talk with the women that we see on a daily basis and not know that what you’re doing is right and moral- you know, and Doctor Tiller- the women he saw were the- he was the last resort. These were women who had wanted to be pregnant, who valued their pregnancies, and for whatever reason, were forced to terminate. And the- you know, I think that’s the important thing is, we know what kind of a role we place in the community, when no one would choose to do this for a job. It’s a calling.

CHETRY: And this is something that’s been roundly denounced- this shooting, by pro-life activists as well, including Reverend Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition. He said, ‘It’s tragic. The probability is that someone who opposed abortion did this. The reason we are pro-life is because we hate violence on any level, I don’t know of one legitimate pro-life leader who would not unequivocally condemn this.’ Now, of course, you owned and operated-

DERZIS: That’s a lie.

CHETRY: You don’t believe the- those words?

DERZIS: Absolutely not. These people- the rhetoric these people espoused calls for our deaths, every day, in front of these clinics. You know, he’s saying that only because of the timing of this particular shooting. Randall Terry- you know, you also hear him calling George Tiller a mass murderer. They have websites. They have wanted posters. These people have put the target on our chest, on our backs-

CHETRY: You don’t differentiate between people who are opposed to abortion and pro-life for their religious reasons, versus those who are promoting violence? I know the websites that you’re referring to where there’s a line through people that have been killed. You don’t differentiate between the extreme and people that just hold the position?

DERZIS: Make no mistake, there are so many people in this country who are pro-life, and are decent, hard-working, good people. But the people, by and large, who stand in front of these clinics every day have their own agenda, and that agenda is to do away with abortion in whatever way they can. The election of Barack Obama put them in a corner. They’re losing, and the only way they see to take care of this is to kill us. This is just the first of what I foresee as many more.

CHETRY: And this is certainly an uncomfortable question to ask, but, you know, it kind of- it makes you wonder, in all the articles I was reading, it said that Doctor Tiller was one of three doctors in this country that perform late-term abortion. So there’s two more, I guess, you could say-

DERZIS: Right.

CHETRY: And you’re right, the targets are out there. I mean, if you look on the Internet, people’s names, where they live- it’s all out there. So what happens if, you know, God forbid, there’s more violence- there’s more killing. Would that end late- the ability for late-term abortion?

DERZIS: I would hope not. I think what you see- these providers know, again, what the risks are. But they’ve decided to take their medical- their medical training and help women. Now, I hope that you’re going to see more physicians stand up to take George Tiller’s place. Now, that would be the ideal thing.

CHETRY: Well, I want to thank you for your time and your perspective this morning, Diane Derzis-

DERZIS: Thank you.

CHETRY: Appreciate talking to you. Thanks.

DERZIS: Thank you.
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center