NBC's Mitchell Spews Abortion Propaganda in Friendly Chat With Planned Parenthood President

In a softball exchange with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards on her Tuesday 1 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell recited one liberal talking point after another to denigrate pro-life legislation in states across the country: "On Friday, Texas became the 16th state to tighten regulations on abortion clinics in the past three years, effectively putting most of them out of business. This is part of a growing movement by states to restrict access to family planning and other women's health facilities." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Turning to Richards, Mitchell implored: "What can you or Planned Parenthood and other groups do to try to keep some of these clinics open?" Richards used the opportunity to proclaim: "Look, this is a very extreme set of bills that are going to close down dozens of health centers in Texas.... I think it's a growing theme, unfortunately, in many states where politicians are putting their own political agenda ahead of women's health care."

Mitchell followed up by ranting: "Well, we've seen action now in North Carolina. We saw what happened in the budget bill in Ohio. Also, Scott Walker, you know, in Wisconsin. So we're seeing state by state efforts through budget actions, often without hearings to roll back access to health care to women."

Speaking of the Texas legislation, which banned abortions after twenty weeks, Richards claimed: "...this bill was so extreme they couldn't get it through the regular legislature. They couldn't even get it through a special session. As you know, Senator Wendy Davis successfully filibustered that bill. So they brought the legislature back a third time simply to ram this bill through, even though it's not supported by the majority of Texans."

The assertion by Richards that Davis "successfully filibustered that bill" was untrue. Davis's filibuster failed to prevent a vote on the legislation, but a mob of rowdy abortion activists managed to delay final approval of the bill past a midnight deadline. In addition, the claim by Richards that the legislation was "not supported by the majority of Texans" flew in the face of a Texas Tribune poll that showed sixty-two percent of Texas residents support the bill.

Rather than challenge Richards on such points, Mitchell instead continued her effort to push the pro-choice agenda: "Now we should point out that there is very little support – never has been – for late-term abortions. It is a rarely used medical option. But this is not just about late-term abortions, this is about preventive health care and Planned Parenthood offering non-abortion services to women."

Touting the protestors who repeatedly stormed the Texas state house, Richards declared: "What we are seeing, which is very encouraging – and I think you're showing some of the signs – is this has enraged and engaged a whole new generation of young women and men who are absolutely not willing to go back to a time where women didn't have access to health care in America."

In response, Mitchell noted how Davis had become "a national figure overnight" after her filibuster, but fretted: "In Texas, your mother Ann Richards, I believe, was the last elected Democrat – Democratic governor in 1990."

Richards replied:

It's been a long time. But it was interesting, Andrea, to be at the capitol and to see literally thousands of people come back to the capitol day after day after day to testify against these bills. And many people said they hadn't seen anything like this since Ann Richards was elected governor. You know, she said when she ran for office that she wanted to open up government to the people of Texas and let them in. And I think thousands of people in Texas have taken her up on that offer in the last few weeks. It's been very encouraging to see democracy in action.

Mitchell remarked: "I can only imagine what she would be saying. I could hear her voice." Richards added: "I think we did." Mitchell agreed: "Exactly."

In a discussion with fellow journalists on the July 10 edition of the program, Mitchell similarly decried pro-life legislative success: "Texas isn't the only state where Roe v. Wade is being challenged....We've seen in Ohio, John Kasich and company sneaked it in to a budget bill....Wisconsin, there's an injunction against enforcement of what the legislature there did under Scott Walker."


 Here is a full transcript of the July 16 interview with Richards:

1:47PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: On Friday, Texas became the 16th state to tighten regulations on abortion clinics in the past three years, effectively putting most of them out of business. This is part of a growing movement by states to restrict access to family planning and other women's health facilities. Joining me now is Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Cecile, thank you very much for being with us.

CECILE RICHARDS: Sure.

MITCHELL: The Texas vote, I know it was filibustered, but then Rick Perry and the legislature, you know, pushed it through, so there's no appeal now. This is going to happen. What can you or Planned Parenthood and other groups do to try to keep some of these clinics open?

RICHARDS: Well, thanks for asking, Andrea. Look, this is a very extreme set of bills that are going to close down dozens of health centers in Texas. We are really looking at the constitutionality, we believe many aspects of the law probably are unconstitutional. But the thing that's really terrible about this, is it is coming on the heels of Governor Perry actually shutting down the women's health program in the state of Texas, where more than 100,000 women already lost access to preventive care. I think it's a growing theme, unfortunately, in many states where politicians are putting their own political agenda ahead of women's health care.

MITCHELL: Well, we've seen action now in North Carolina. We saw what happened in the budget bill in Ohio. Also, Scott Walker, you know, in Wisconsin. So we're seeing state by state efforts through budget actions, often without hearings...

RICHARDS: Absolutely.

MITCHELL: ...to roll back access to health care to women.

RICHARDS: Right. I mean, that's what's incredible. And I mean, I just spent a lot of time in Texas – it's my home state, of course – where, in fact, they couldn't – this bill was so extreme they couldn't get it through the regular legislature. They couldn't even get it through a special session. As you know, Senator Wendy Davis successfully filibustered that bill. So they brought the legislature back a third time simply to ram this bill through, even though it's not supported by the majority of Texans. And we're seeing the same thing in North Carolina, very unpopular moves by the legislature. Literally attaching anti-choice, anti-women's legislation to a motorcycle bill just in hopes of jamming it through the legislature there. But people do not support this, even in states like North Carolina and in Texas.

MITCHELL: Now we should point out that there is very little support – never has been – for late-term abortions. It is a rarely used medical option. But this is not just about late-term abortions, this is about preventive health care and Planned Parenthood offering non-abortion services to women.

RICHARDS: That's right. I mean, I think that, look, the rules – the law that was just passed in Texas would literally close down dozens of women's health centers because of the ridiculous restrictions that are placed upon them and on doctors. I mean it is literally the legislature getting in between doctors and their ability to provide medical care. We're still seeing, in states where they're trying to cut women off of going to Planned Parenthood for basic family planning, cancer screening, that's ninety percent of what we do. So this is, I think, a much broader effort to take away women's access to care. What we are seeing, which is very encouraging – and I think you're showing some of the signs – is this has enraged and engaged a whole new generation of young women and men who are absolutely not willing to go back to a time where women didn't have access to health care in America.

MITCHELL: But that said, Wendy Davis became, you know, a national figure overnight over this. But in Texas, your mother Ann Richards, I believe, was the last elected Democrat – Democratic governor in 1990. So there isn't-
 
RICHARDS: It's been a long time. It's been a long time. But it was interesting, Andrea, to be at the capitol and to see literally thousands of people come back to the capitol day after day after day to testify against these bills. And many people said they hadn't seen anything like this since Ann Richards was elected governor. You know, she said when she ran for office that she wanted to open up government to the people of Texas and let them in. And I think thousands of people in Texas have taken her up on that offer in the last few weeks. It's been very encouraging to see democracy in action.

MITCHELL: I can only imagine what she would be saying. I could hear her voice.

RICHARDS: I think we did.

MITCHELL: Exactly. Well, Cecile Richards, it's always great to see you. Thank you very much for the update.

RICHARDS: Thanks a lot, Andrea.

MITCHELL: And we will stay on this story and we'll be right back.

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