In the two years of teabagger triumphalism there has been a concerted effort by the American right wing to curtail women's reproductive rights. While Bill O'Reilly's prediction that Planned Parenthood would be defunded hasn't materialized, a record number of anti-choice measures, many of which have passed, have been pushed by those for whom Fox News provides a mouthpiece. As we speak, only a court injunction prevents Mississippi from being, as the GOP governor proudly proclaimed, an "abortion free state." But that doesn't stop "pro-life media luminary" Laura Ingraham from using the "fair & balanced" news network to push anti-choice talking points. Last week, however, when she subbed for Bill O'Reilly (June 25th), she got as good as she gave. And for that, Alix Magill Johnson gets muchos kudos from your humble correspondent!
Laura Ingraham, who wears a great big Catholic cross because she's a great big Catholic, started off the program with the anti-choice urban legend that made the rounds of the pro-life blogs and was the subject of a Planned Parenthood bashing session on "The Five." During a campaign speech in NH, President Obama said to an audience that included high school students that "You can decide that instead of restricting access to birth control or defunding Planned Parenthood, we should make sure that in this country, women control their own health care choices." The pro-lifers interpreted that as recommending that kids have wild sex.
Anyway, Ingraham played the comment, noting that Obama "seized the so-called war on women." Ingraham asked, as did "The Five," if this comment was appropriate in front of young people. When Johnson said that young people should have conversations about "reproductive health," Ingraham wanted to know if that is best left to parents. She continued with an articulate defense of school sex education programs. When Johnson noted that if kids don't have the conversation it doesn't mean that they're not having sex, Sister Mary Laura, who hates icky sex, dismissed Johnson's comment with this gem: " Well -- not -- right, not all high school students are having sex so, your point is factually incorrect."
Johnson agreed with Laura that parents have a right to teach their children whatever values they feel are important along with giving them "the ability to evaluate a wide variety of information." In keeping with the aforementioned anti-Obama meme, Ingraham wanted to know if it was the role of the president to "get into these issues." (ONE MORE TIME - it was one very general policy position statement not instruction use of condoms!) Ingraham worked in the perfunctory Catholic bishops' talking points when she referenced how "lots" of Americans were participating in the Catholic "Fortnight for Freedom" protests against the Obama administration "cramming down contraception" and "making other people pay for it." Johnson adeptly argued about the importance of preventative care. When Ingraham asked how denying women the contraception coverage was denying access, Johnson said that defunding Planned Parenthood has economic ramifications. When Ingraham trotted out the anti-choice line that "pregnancy is not a disease" (certainly one that, as far as we know, Laura never had), Johnson scored more points when said that unintended pregnancy affects a woman economically. Ingraham snarked about "free stuff," Johnson remained calm and talked about how prevention holds down health care costs. When Ingraham said Walmart birth control is cheap, Johnson countered with the fact that birth control can cost as much as $70 per month.
Funny, Ingraham is a lawyer who should be concerned about equal access to health care. But she doesn't seem concerned about how women, who work at Catholic organizations, will be discriminated against if they are forced to pay for their own birth control while other women would be covered. If anybody wants to see the war on women in action, all they have to do is listen to Laura Ingraham. Ms. Johnson is a worthy adversary.
Ingraham was the second woman on Fox News to get this tacked on her forehead. The first being (of course) Megyn Kelly.