The June 28 broadcast of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports wouldn’t be complete without some mentioning of abortion and the 11-hour filibuster by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis on Tuesday. Davis, who worked herself through Harvard Law despite having had the hardship of being a teenage single mother, temporarily killed the bill which would have made it illegal to conduct an abortion after 20 weeks in a pregnancy. Yet, as with other broadcast networks, they excised that critical detail.
Mitchell asked the former Republican governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, about this development. Pawlenty admitted he didn’t know the details of the bill. For her part, Mitchell simply insisted that the bill violated Roe v. Wade and would close down virtually all "abortion services" in the Lone Star State. Of course, Mitchell failed to go into specific provisions of the bill, which, among other things, requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital in the event that something horrible goes wrong and the patient needs to be admitted.
Instead, Mitchell couched the issue in terms of it being another embarrassment for the party which would alienate potential voters and hurt the GOP in the elections:
ANDREA MITCHELL: I want to ask you about another big issue that’s a real crunch issue for Republicans, and Democrats, it’s the issue of abortion. Certainly the women's vote becoming more and more important -- what about what happened in Texas with the filibuster, now Rick Perry is coming back on Monday and saying he's going to it again and it is a very restrictive bill. I know your views on abortion, but do you think that the state of Texas is being too restrictive and eliminating most the clinics--
FMR. Gov. TIM PAWLENTY (R-Minn.): I saw the kerfuffle in the news at a headline level, but I haven’t dug down into the particulars of the Texas bill, Andrea so I can’t comment on that.
MITCHELL: It would close almost all of the abortion services in the state of Texas. And it would restrict abortions; make them available far less than Roe v. Wade. So, it would eventually become a constitutional issue.
GOV. PAWLENTY: Yeah, I'm not aware that a state can undermine Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade is a Supreme Court decision and that's a minimum standard I think so I don’t think a state could overturn that or contradict it because that is constitutional standard.
MITCHELL: Where do you think the party needs to come down on all of these issues – wedge issues that have it harder for Republicans to win national elections?
GOV. PAWLENTY: Well, in terms of national elections, you know if you look at the affect of –say the abortion issue – you got to control for places like New York and California but the country is about evenly divided on the abortion issue. So for that one, for every moderate you might lose, you might gain somebody from the other side who has somebody who lines up with you. But on a state-by-state level, it is a much more pronounced issue. So, if you're running for a statewide issue in California and you’re pro-life, that's a steeper hill to climb than if you running say nationally because the country as a whole is still mixed on the issue.
Recent polling shows only 14 percent of Americans support third trimester abortions. Furthermore, 62 percent of Texans want SB 5 -- the bill Davis filibustered -- to be put into law, and Americans overall support making late term abortions illegal.
This really isn’t a “wedge issue” even though Mitchell and the rest of the gang at MSNBC want it to be.