On Wednesday morning, CNN again gave attention to the kind of Republican that the liberal network loves the most -- those who try to undermine their own party's conservative agenda. The show devoted a seven-minute segment to fretting over the heartbeat law that was just passed by South Carolina's state legislature which bans abortions at about six weeks, interviewing a Republican state senator who help lead opposition to the bill.
Even though the ban even allows abortions in exceptional cases -- for example, giving rape victims 12 weeks instead of six -- CNN highlighted the efforts of several state senators, including several Republicans, who tried to block the law's passage.
After State Senator Sandy Senn, appearing as a guest, recalled that she was disappointed at her failure to stop the bill, Collins sympathetically followed up: "I can tell this is -- this is emotional and personal for you."
Collins then pushed the narrative that it would hurt Republicans as the CNN host soon added:
You're a Republican, and, as part of this, you have banded together with the other female colleagues -- some of them who are Democrats, some who are independents in this -- but given how widespread the abortion discussion has been on a national level, do things like what happened in South Carolina yesterday hurt Republicans ultimately, do you think?
Senator Senn agreed: "Yes, absolutely it does!" After the interview, which offered no pushback against Senn's agreeable views, Poppy Harlow invoked pro--abortion hero Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the CNN co-host sympathetically jumped in to comment:
I think she brings up such an important issue that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- the late justice -- said years ago, which is to not have access always disproportionately affects poor women. And that's what she's talking about there. If you don't have the money to go to another state, this affects you more.
Noting that the show had interviewed the same guest about the same issue last week, Collins recalled:
And we've talked to her -- we had her on just last week -- we've talked to her a bunch during this, but also she and the other "sister senators" we've interviewed multiple times -- you saw there she had tears in her eyes as she was talking about this. It's incredibly personal for them.
Harlow jumped in to add: "She feels like she let, you know, many of their constituents down."
It was on Thursday, May 18, that Senator Senn was given a forum to promote her efforts to stop the abortion ban in her state.
CNN This Morning
May 24, 2023
8:15 a.m. Eastern
KAITLAN COLLINS: South Carolina now poised to become the latest state to ban abortion after just six weeks. The state senate voted yesterday to ban most abortions after early cardiac activity is detected. That can be as early as six weeks -- before many women even know that they're pregnant. The bill offers very few exceptions -- including fatal fetal anomalies like heart and brain defects, and the health and the life of the mother. It would also make exceptions up to 12 weeks for cases of rape or incest. A filibuster of five women who have now come to be known as the "sister senators" tried but ultimately failed to block the measure.
STATE SENATOR KATRINA SHEALY (R-SC) (pre-recorded clip from state senate chamber): Men are 100 percent responsible for pregnancy. (editing jump) Men are fertile 100 percent of the time, so it's time for men in this chamber and the ones across the hall and all across the state of South Carolina to take some ejaculation responsibility. (editing jump) We in the South Carolina legislature are not God. (editing jump) We do not have the right to make decisions for someone else.
STATE SENATOR SANDY SENN (R-SC) (pre-recorded clip from state senate chamber): It bothers me that it has been admitted in this chamber and acknowledged that what we are doing here today is not going to do away with illegal abortions. It is going to cause illegal abortions. And so, women, everybody, when you look back years from now and your teenagers end up dying because they have gone to get an illegal abortion because they didn't know they were pregnant at six weeks, it is our fault.
COLLINS: That will now head to the desk of Republican Governor Henry McMaster, who has said he will sign it into law as soon as possible. Joining us now is one of South Carolina's "sister senators" that you just heard from there, Republican State Senator Sandy Senn. And good morning.
We talked about this last week. You were saying it was going to basically be a nail biter to see if your male colleagues stood with you and the other women on this. What's your reaction waking up this morning, knowing that the governor is planning to sign this into law as soon as he can?
SENN: Well, I mean, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. Actually, it came down to one male, and, you know, I'm thankful that they stood with us before, but, basically, at the last minute, he caved and, when he did, the other two went with him. So that left us with just five. I can tell you, we would certainly be a lot more powerful if we could elect just three more women. With three more women, this whole situation would have turned out a lot differently.
COLLINS: Yeah, I know, you and your other colleagues are wearing buttons talking about electing other women. You referenced that vote there is from Senator Tom Davis, who ultimately was the reason this passed yesterday. Do you have a message for the governor this morning on this bill?
COLLINS: I'm from Alabama. I know what abortion access looks like in the South. South Carolina was one of the last remaining states where women could go and have access to abortions. What is your message to women this morning?
SENN: That I'm very sorry that we disappointed you, but we tried.
COLLINS: I can tell this is -- this is emotional and personal for you.
SENN: It is, but, anyway, like I said, we got to get it back together, and we will. We're all five meeting here in about the next hour and coming up with some game plans. We were very heartened to see all of the support in the lobby. I'm very thankful to see so much Republican support. I cannot tell you how -- it's just overwhelming. I had a lady from Ireland write me today who is a Republican -- she was originally American -- and there are just so many people that have reached out. And so giving us that kind of encouragement is really needed.
COLLINS: You're a Republican, and, as part of this, you have banded together with other female colleagues -- some of them who are Democrats, some who are independents in this -- but given how widespread the abortion discussion has been on a national level, do things like what happened in South Carolina yesterday hurt Republicans ultimately, do you think?
SENN: Yes, yes, absolutely it does, and I don't understand why my colleagues don't understand that. I think that just for so long they have beaten that pro-life mantra -- and we are all pro-life -- but they've taken it too far. And I really feel sorry for the women in Florida. They're now going to have to, you know, South Carolina was -- and I don't want our state to be an abortion destination -- but we're putting women in the Southeast in a total bind. If you don't have money to fly or a lot of time and money for gas to go all the way up the East Coast, then, you know, you're just in trouble.
And I think about the young, young victims at, you know, of rape and incest or, you know, those that just had boyfriends and got in trouble -- I feel so sorry for them because I think they need a little bit of time. I don't, you know, they don't need a lot of time -- I think they need to make up their mind, but I certainly would have thought that first trimester would have been a better option than where we are now.
COLLINS: State Senator Sandy Senn, thank you for your time this morning.
SENN: Thank you.
POPPY HARLOW: I think she brings up such an important issue that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- the late justice -- said years ago, which is to not have access disproportionately to always affects poor women. And that's what she's talking about there. If you don't have the money to go to another state, this affects you more.
COLLINS: And we've talked to her -- we had her on just last week -- we've talked to her a bunch during this, but also she and the other "sister senators" we've interviewed multiple times -- you saw there she had tears in her eyes as she was talking about this. It's incredibly personal for them.
HARLOW: She feels like she let, you know, many of her constituents down.
COLLINS: And they faced a lot of backlash over this, I should also note. They fought a bill and fought and fought a bill, fought a bill, fought a bill. They had protesters -- they had threats -- threats to primary them from their colleagues.
HARLOW: That's right. Great interview.