PBS Anchor Judy Woodruff to Pro-Lifer: 'I'm Not Familiar' With Any Horrible Abortionists

PBS anchor Judy Woodruff exposed a serious case of ignorance in a segment on Virginia’s abortion-ultrasound bill. When Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life warned “think about Kermit Gosnell and the house of horrors in Philadelphia, with abortion clinics that are horribly...” At that point, Woodruff admitted “I'm not familiar with...?” Yoest explained: “He's on trial now for women who died in his abortion clinic.”

Woodruff might be under-informed because the PBS NewsHour ignored the Gosnell story a year ago. Associated Press reported “Prosecutors described the clinic as a ‘house of horrors’ where Gosnell kept baby body parts on the shelves, allowed a 15-year-old high school student to perform intravenous anesthesia on patients, and had his licensed cosmetologist wife do late-term abortions.”

Or try the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Semiconscious, moaning women sat in dirty recliners and on bloodstained blankets. The air reeked of urine from the flea-infested cats permitted to roam the clinic. There was blood on the floor and cat feces on the stairs.”

But to the liberals at PBS, requiring a woman to get an ultrasound is much more horrific and newsworthy?! Liberal journalists don't tend to do any homework on anything that might confuse their ideological worldview.

Woodruff’s other guest was Nancy Keenan, head of “NARAL Pro-Choice America,” and Keenan knew she wouldn't be on the defensive about horrific abortion clinics. Woodruff allowed her to lay out how it was somehow dangerous that any legislature would propose limiting or regulating the glorious and liberating feminist practice of abortion. Get a load of this string of softballs:

JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to ask you, Nancy Keenan, about moves, as we reported, in, what, 24 states to discourage abortion through one requirement or another. What concerns you and your organization and others who agree with you about this?

NANCY KEENAN: We have seen twice as many anti-choice pieces of legislation passed in 2011 than we did in 2010. I think that these are folks that ran for office, whether it was a state legislature or here in Congress, ran on jobs and the economy, and now are absolutely attacking women's health and particularly reproductive health...

WOODRUFF: So are you saying there's a coordinated effort nationwide to do this?

KEENAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. There's a strategy to defund women having access to birth control and family planning, at the same time making all of these barriers so women can't access a legal, a legal procedure in this country.

Both Woodruff and Keenan want the storyline to be how what might seem to be an utterly reasonable focus on making sure a woman with child actually is offered a peek at that child is really a national conspiracy to take down Roe vs. Wade:

WOODRUFF: Is that what's taking place?

CHARMAINE YOEST: The problem is, is that the abortion lobby is afraid that a woman having access to a sonogram might be dissuaded by having the full information about her baby's development and about the abortion procedure.

WOODRUFF: But across the board nationally, with these other requirements that have been proposed or enacted, longer waiting time, we mentioned some of the other ways. . .

YOEST: We saw 28 pieces of AUL-based legislation passed this last year, and there has been a dramatic increase. . .

WOODRUFF: And how much of that is coordinated across the country?

YOEST: Well, there was a huge influx of pro-life legislators who were elected by the people. So they're responding to their constituents who want to see greater protections across the board. We're talking about parental consent, informed consent, things that people, the vast majority of the American people do support.

  KEENAN: This is so out of touch with America's priorities and values.

We know PBS doesn't usually have laugh tracks, but Keenan desperately needs one here. The abortion lobby clearly mobilized in 2010 and had their "just a fetus" heads handed to them.  They lost the election, and then call the other side out of touch with American priorities and values. Then Woodruff asked about the VRWC, the Vast Roe v. Wade Conspiracy:

WOODRUFF: What is the goal of these state-by-state efforts, Charmaine Yoest? Is it to get as close as possible to practically overturn Roe vs. Wade? What would you say is the goal?

YOEST: I think it's responding to the fact that the majority of the American people say that they're pro-life. And there's a huge consensus in this country on commonsense regulations on abortion like sonograms.  Sonogram laws are -- in 22 states have passed because the American people think this is commonsense things that we can all agree on no matter what your opinion on abortion is. Informed consent, parental consent, these are things that the American people do agree on.

Woodruff never asked if Keenan's views were extreme, or if they had a national effort to repeal any limit on abortion at any time. There was an outbreak of political rationality at the end:

WOODRUFF: Nancy Keenan, if this is the result of individuals elected to the state legislature and they're doing what they believe, it's the political process, right?

KEENAN: It is. And elections matter.

Keenan just wants to pretend they lost in 2010 because people were obsessed with taxes and deficits overwhelmed their tremendous passion for "abortion rights."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis