Joy Behar ripped the House of Representatives on her program on Monday for their recent defunding of Planned Parenthood. Behar, focusing on the organization's birth control services, criticized the move as "illogical...because if you are not going to help people with birth control, you're going to have more abortions. So, besides being evil and immoral and unethical, they're also stupid" (audio clips available here).
The liberal host led her 10 pm program by playing clips from Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore's Thursday speech on the floor of the House, where she argued that funding Planned Parenthood was better than having "to give your kids ramen noodles at the end of the month to fill up their little bellies so they won't cry. You have to give them mayonnaise sandwiches." Many in the conservative blogosphere argued that she's hinting that it's better to abort a child than have them live life in such a way. Behar then introduced Rep. Moore and Planned Parenthood Federation of American president Cecile Richards and asked the congresswoman, "What drove you to finally stand up on Thursday and deliver that great speech on the floor?"
[Video embedded below the page break]
Behar complimented the Wisconsin Democrat (who was participating in the pro-union protests in Madison) again after the politician gave the standard liberal line that "Planned Parenthood is part of why we're all standing here today. These have been hard-fought rights, human and civil rights, to determine your own destiny and to have control over your lives, and we weren't- I wasn't about to just sit still in my seat and listen to people with their own corporate interests, their only spin on American values, set the tone." The host replied, "Good for you! Thank you for doing that."
The HLN personality continued by directing her first question towards Richards (note as well that Behar didn't seek out any pro-life women for the segment, such as former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson): "Cecile, explain to people who are watching what the Republicans want to take away from Planned Parenthood, which, by the way...everybody out there should know, that there is no federal funding for abortion. We are not talking about abortion here. We're talking about- what? what do they want to talk away?"
Actually, Behar's claim about federal funding of abortion isn't true. The National Abortion Federation, one of the largest pro-abortion organizations in the country, acknowledges that current federal law "requires [Medicaid] coverage of abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment."
For the next portion of the segment, the three "pro-choice" women then acted like Planned Parenthood was the only entity that could provide health services for low-income women. In reality, there are about 1,200 Federally Qualified Health Centers delivering much of the same preventative care at "over 7,000 service delivery sites in every state and territory":
BEHAR: Okay. Now, Representative Moore, where do these Republicans expect these women to go if they can't go to Planned Parenthood anymore? Where are they going to get these services?
MOORE: You know, I can tell you that we- you know, we have seen a constant thing, that if they don't have anywhere to go, 'so be it.' We asked them that same question about protecting clean air and clean water. They stripped the funds from that. Mr. Boehner was asked where people were going to go, like these workers here. Hundreds of thousands of people were losing not only their jobs, but their rights, and their mantra is 'so be it.' I do think (laughs) 'so be it' is their mantra. And so, we're seeing a very corporatist climate emerging, and this is why I'm so glad to see people hit the streets. We're out here in freezing cold weather here in Wisconsin. We're used to it, and there's nothing that's going to stop us from speaking up for our human rights and workers' rights. This is what it means to be an American. (crowd cheers)
BEHAR: Do you think, Congresswoman, that 'so be it' really means,' we don't care'? Who cares? Is that what 'so be it' really means?
MOORE: That's what 'so be it' means, and, you know, I have, you know, there are buttons that many members are wearing that say, 'so be it' on it because that's the theme- that's the message that many of our colleagues, that our colleagues on the other side, want to convey. I do think that- I do think it's important to realize that it's a double message to say that you don't want to support Planned Parenthood services, and then at the same time, you don't want to- you want to repeal the health care law, and so, not provide any medical services for women at all. To say that you want to zero out WIC, women and infants and children's funding for food, and then say that you want children to be born. And I think that their message is, inevitably, then 'so be it,' if these children die. They care very much for children in the womb, but boy, junior, once you crown, once you're born, you are part of the ownership society when you're on your own.
BEHAR: Right. Oh, they don't seem to care about it after the child is born. It's like caution to the wind. But, you know, I think that one of the things I think is going on is even though Planned Parenthood, Cecile, doesn't offer abortions for- with taxpayer money, the fact is that Planned Parenthood does provide abortion if you pay for it yourself, right?- or if insurance pays for it....Is that the real reason that they're targeting Planned Parenthood because of the abortion services?
RICHARDS: I think it's actually that is what- and I think we saw that in Congress last week where they basically said, look, if you would just quit providing this legal service that some women need, and again, it's a very small part of what we do but it is- we believe it's an important service to women. If you would just quit doing that, we would give you all the family planning money that you possibly could need, and I think that's- the cynicism of all of this is it's really taking women's health care and making it a very political issue.
BEHAR: Yes. Well, they've always done that....They've always done that.
RICHARDS: But that's what I think, as a result of- and I think you really spoke to this, what's going to happen as a result of this? If this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are going to lose their health care access, not to abortion services, to basic family planning- you know, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer.
BEHAR: All the things that women need and people can't afford.
RICHARDS: Exactly, that's the irony of this, is that we just spent this year talking about the need to get more people health care coverage. Millions of women now would have absolutely no health care coverage in this country and nowhere to go.
Behar then set up her smear of pro-lifers, and for the remainder of the discussion, her two guests argued that Planned Parenthood was an irreplaceable part of American society:
BEHAR: But it's illogical, what they're doing, because if you are not going to help people with birth control, you're going to have more abortions. Don't they think of that?
RICHARDS: Well, that, and I thought that point-
BEHAR: So, besides being evil and immoral and unethical, they're also stupid.
RICHARDS: Right. Well, I think Congressman [Stephen] Lynch was fabulous last week. You know, he is- he opposes abortion, but he's spoken in defense of Planned Parenthood because he said, you know, Planned Parenthood does more to prevent unintended pregnancy than any other organization in America. So, let's fund Planned Parenthood, get family planning to women, so we can to reduce unintended pregnancy in America.
RICHARDS: One in five women, Joy, comes to Planned Parenthood at some point in their lifetime. We are a mainstream provider. We are an American value in this country, and I think what we're seeing, just, you know, the backlash since the vote in the House has been unbelievable. We've had- I just counted- we've had 466,000 women who have e-mailed Congress just since Friday, saying you cannot eliminate Planned Parenthood from the public health care system.
BEHAR: Good- okay. What else can outraged women and citizens, men and women, of course, who are watching, what else can we all do? Well, because sometimes, you're sitting at home and you hear this. Go ahead, Gwen, you want to talk. Let's see what she has to say.
MOORE: Well, Joy, you know, I think the other piece of this is that it's the law of the land. I mean, whether, and I think Representative Lynch really pointed that out-
MOORE: Whether you believe in abortion or not, you know, many people don't have abortions, and it's totally untrue that abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood are spread all over the inner city where black people live. That is absolutely not true. But whether you believe in it or not, this is what has made America great, is that we have freedoms and we have rights here. This is what everybody in the entire world is trying to emulate now-
BEHAR: That's right- exactly.
MOORE: And so that you can get your own private health care. Planned Parenthood is so essential. Many women would never know that they had cancer if it weren't for Planned Parenthood.
If Rep. Moore is right, that "the inner city where black people live" isn't a prime market for abortion providers, then why did the New York City health department recently acknowledge that black women have the highest rate of abortion there, obtaining 40,798 out of the 87,273 abortions in 2009?
The one thing that Behar and her guests unsurprisingly glossed over is the recent undercover videos by the pro-life group Live Action that exposed Planned Parenthood workers' cooperation with an actor portraying a pimp who had an underage sex ring. Despite all the preventive screenings and measures performed by Planned Parenthood and cited by the three women, the organization is not irreplaceable in providing these services, and these goods do not outweigh their collaboration with sex criminals, both real and simulated, along with the hundreds of thousands of abortion that they perform every year.