For years, MSNBC has taken a firm stance in favor of pro-abortion rights activists, with daily segments highlighting their support for abortion activists. MSNBC has served as an unofficial mouthpiece for Planned Parenthood, as it regularly brings on activists from the nation's largest abortion chain to rail against abortion safety laws across the country.
Take for example a recent segment on the July 17 MSNBC Live, in which fill-in host Mara Schiavocampo melodramatically began a segment with a Planned Parenthood representative by claiming that there was a “Another day. Another battle between state legislators and advocates for women's health care this time in Wisconsin.” The MSNBC host proceeded to then interview Tanya Atkinson of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. No pro-life activist was brought on for balance, nor did Schiavocampo challenge Atkinson on any of her assertions. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
For example, when Schiavocampo relayed how a Wisconsin judge commented on the difficulty of traveling northern Wisconsin’s roads as one reason he issued a restraining order on the new abortion safety bill, Atkinson chimed in with another misleading charge:
This will have a huge impact to women in Wisconsin and as the judge commented, we have women who are traveling, you know, upwards of six to ten hours to receive access to care and to shut down two of the four remaining centers and greatly reduce the capacity at the other two will really have an indelible impact.
Atkinson, who profits as a Planned Parenthood employee, ignored the fact that according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services there are exactly 56 non-Planned Parenthood free or low cost health clinics in the Badger State. There may be others that the state is not aware of, perhaps, but that's how many are listed on the state health department's website. The Planned Parenthood representative would like the viewers at MSNBC to believe that Planned Parenthood is the only option women have to receive low-cast health care, when in fact there are 56 other places they can visit, places that Atkinson and Planned Parenthood does not profit off of and which offer more comprehensive medical care, not just OB/GYN services.
Instead of including this vital information to her viewers, the MSNBC host allowed Atkinson to push her Planned Parenthood agenda further, by asking her, “What effects do these measures have on access to health care beyond abortion?” In fact, the new abortion safety law will only affect the pocketbooks of Atkinson and those at Planned Parenthood, not women who actually want real health care. Rather than acting as a surrogate for Planned Parenthood, MSNBC should actually provide the facts about women’s health care in Wisconsin, rather than scaring its viewers that their healthcare is in jeopardy.
See relevant transcript below.
July 17, 2013
11:42 a.m. Eastern
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: Another day. Another battle between state legislators and advocates for women's health care this time in Wisconsin. Today a federal judge will consider fast track legislation signed by the state’s Republican Governor Scott Walker in early June. It requires abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Start to finish, that bill was proposed, passed and enacted in just 34 days. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU quickly filed suit and a temporary restraining order was issued last week. The judge found a “troubling lack of justification for the hospital admitting privileges requirement and that the record to date strongly supports finding that no medical purpose is served by this requirement.” Joining me now is Tanya Atkinson Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. Thanks so much for being here this morning.
TANYA ATKINSON: Thank you for having me.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Now Tanya, under SB-206 two abortion clinics would be shut down completely and the remaining two would be reduced to 50% capacity. In his opinion the judge even commented on the difficulty of traveling northern Wisconsin's roads. So how severely will this impact women in Wisconsin?
ATKINSON: This will have a huge impact to women in Wisconsin and as the judge commented, we have women who are traveling, you know, upwards of six to ten hours to receive access to care and to shut down two of the four remaining centers and greatly reduce the capacity at the other two will really have an indelible impact. And it's a time sensitive procedure and so these barriers and these delays really pose a risk to women's health and lives.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: Now Wisconsin already had some of the most stringent laws in the nation when it came to abortion when Governor Walker came into office and he’s passed many more not to mention defunding Planned Parenthood, repealing sex-ed classes and slashing state Medicaid. What effects do these measures have on access to health care beyond abortion?
ATKINSON: Right, and I think that is a really important point to make is that since Governor Walker has taken office, we have seen reduction in access to health care. We were defunded which caused us to close four of our family planning centers, but it's not just about Planned Parenthood. In the most recent state budget, about a hundred thousand people will lose access to our Medicaid program which we call badger care because the Governor refused to take the Medicaid expansion dollars. So when you look at everything in its entirety, it's a really, really tough place to be, you know, a woman right now, because we are seeing more and more restrictions to even the most basic birth control. The health centers that we closed provided birth control, breast and cervical cancer screening, STD testing treatment. So really, really basic health care is at risk in Wisconsin.
SCHIAVOCAMPO: All right. Tanya Atkinson, executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates in Wisconsin, thanks so much for joining me this morning.