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Megyn Kelly & GOP Guest Promote Anti-Choice Talking Points & Impugn Washington School

Reported by Priscilla - March 26, 2010 -

In addition to banning abortion and contraception, the anti-choice movement seeks to impose abortion “parental notification” laws in those states that, currently, do not have them. Washington is one of these states and that is why the anti-choice movement is creating a “controversy” about a minor being referred to an abortion by staff of a health clinic operating at a Seattle High School. The “pro-life” mother, despite having signed a “consent form” for her daughter to avail herself of the clinic services, told a local TV station that she is furious that the clinic kept this information confidential. Because it appears that the clinic was within their rights, the anti-choice lobby is using this affair to promote a “parental notification” law for Washington. So are we surprised that Megyn Kelly allowed one such proponent to make the case based on his questionable depiction of what transpired? And who is this spokesperson – somebody from the school, the public health or legal community? Nope, it's a right wing radio personality from a Fox affiliated station. But Fox News is America’s “pro-life” newsroom…

Kelly immediately misrepresented the case when she talked about new details involving a girl whose school helped her get an abortion. Fact – the abortion was facilitated by the private company that runs the clinics at the city schools. Her spin was apparent when she described the school’s medical waiver as “shutting parents out of the most sensitive medical decision a young person could ever have to make.” Fact – that’s the law. The spin continued with “the incident sparked outrage and concern among parents across the country.” Actually, Megyn, the only outrage is within the anti-choice community. The reality based community, if they know about it, don’t really care. She introduced her guest, John Carlson, from right wing KVI radio – without noting that he was a Republican gubernatorial candidate who is a “longtime Republican Party activist who often chairs the party's state platform committee.”

Despite her earlier comment about the school helping the student “get an abortion,” Kelly admitted that the school didn’t run the clinic; but the school “gave her a taxi ride”…so it was essentially facilitating…” She then said that “most observers say the school, legally, did nothing wrong." Carlson launched into a criticism of the law in Washington. The chyron read “School Criticized For Helping 15 Year Old Get Secret Abortion.” Fact – that’s what the law allows. Without any evidence, Carlson alleged that the school “encouraged the girl not to tell her parents” and that “if she didn’t tell her parents the abortion would be paid for.” Fact - the circumstances surrounding the abortion are confidential as specified under HIPPA confidentiality laws. He alleged that her attendance record showed that she was not “off campus.” Question – Other than what the mother said, how does Mr. Carlson know what was said. Fact – School attendance records are confidential and wouldn’t be disclosed to a local radio personality. Mr. Carlson’s information seems to be coming, not from the authorities, but from the girl’s mother.

Kelly said “it almost sounds like a cover up.”

Carlson said that “they were doing what they could to ensure that there would be no evidence the girl had an abortion. Fact - the clinic was following standard procedure.Kelly did say that she reviewed the form that the mother signed and asked if the mother could have said “I’m not signing that.” Carlson asked why the language, which refers to “health care services” was “so vague” – a question, he said, that school officials didn’t answer. Question - Is this just a school form or is this a standard, state approved form used by the health clinics in the school? Megyn worked in a right wing talking point when she said that in the health care debate, health care services includes abortion. (This is the anti-choice talking point that “health care services” include “federally funded abortion" at community health centers which will receive federal funds) Carlson said that parents wouldn’t read abortion into that. But if mom is “pro-life,” why would she sign this form which clearly references “reproductive health care?” Carlson said that the form was designed this way because “they wanted to keep it vague.” Megyn’s voice rose when she said that “parent are forced to choose between the consent which would allow the school to take them to an emergency clinic if, God forbid, something happened to them…or she’s out of luck if she falls and hits her head on campus?” Carlson said “you nailed it.” Kelly said “that’s a troubling situation for those parents” but “I guess that’s the law in Washington state, parents are left in a quandry.” Carlson delivered the final anti-choice propaganda shot: “That’s what has to change."

Comment: If Kelly were truly “fair and balanced,” she could have mentioned that this type of confidentiality is extended, by law, to drug and alcohol treatment because, in the past, there have been suicides on the part of youth who could not tell their parents about their problems. Part of the issue about parental notification is that the young girls, seeking abortions, have been reluctant to disclose their pregnancies out of fear of physical abuse – especially if the man who impregnated them is a close relative. Why did this girl, whom her mom described as “pro-life,” seek out an abortion? For Megyn Kelly to allow just one side of the argument to be presented, while she implied that there might have been a “cover up” is just another example of how the Fox “news” block is not what it is purported to be – “fair and balanced,” not so much.