Bill O'Reilly isn't the only Catholic, pro-life Fox "news" guy who uses his show to promote the lies and propaganda of those who seek to control women's bodies. While not as strident as O'Reilly, who used his show to vilify an abortion provider, Sean Hannity is fully on board with the anti-abortion crusade against Planned Parenthood. Last week, a Florida Planned Parenthood representative, during a hearing regarding protection for fetuses born during botched abortions, said that medical decisions should be between the mother and the doctor. That generated a right wing media frenzy during which right wing media outlets were "shitting all over themselves" to show that Planned Parenthood supports the murder of post-born children which is, of course, a lie. Bill O'Reilly advanced this narrative which includes the perfunctory anti-abortion lie that Pres. Obama supports infanticide. Sean Hannity was more than happy to do the same!
Monday night, Hannity's framed his message in the background visual - "pro-abortion extremists." ("Pro-abortion is term used by the anti-abortion lobby). Using patented Fox language, he reported that there is "major outrage" about Planned Parenthood. He played video of anti-abortion Florida legislators doing a gotcha questions regarding what the organization does in the highly unlikely (Florida doesn't do abortions after 24 weeks) scenario that a fetus would survive an abortion. The PP rep, who IMHO should have been better prepared, said that she didn't have the information. At another point in the hearing, not shown on the video, she said that medical decisions should be left to the mother and doctor - a legitimate point if the "born alive" fetus is severely medically compromised with a decision to made about "extraordinary means" of support - a decision that would be up to the parent. What wasn't mentioned by Hannity or O'Reilly was the provision of the bill to strip the mother of parental rights in this situation because, as said by the anti-abortion pols, women who choose abortions aren't fit to be mothers.
Hannity was joined by Penny Nance, a righwing nut zealot who recently said that the Violence Against Women Act is part of the "war on women," gay marriage advocates are bullies, and school condom distribution contributes to rampant sex among teens, and attorney Meg Strickler. Hannity, unlike O'Reilly who scoffed at what he considered a weak reaction, read Planned Parenthood's statement that born alive infants should receive care. The propaganda games then began.
Hannity said President Obama voted against the Illinois born alive act three times. Nance whined that taxpayers give PP $400 million dollars and claimed that they believe that "it's only a baby when they say it is." She claimed that they engage in "moral relativism". In working in the requisite Obama supports infanticide meme she said that he voted against the born alive act four times. Hannity asked Nance if PP is doing a CYA. She replied "absolutely." In discussing funding she claimed that PP hides money and "isn't coming clean" with their numbers. She brayed that PP is a "radical pro-abortion leftists who have a crazy position on abortions to the left of the American people." She whined about how Obama has "propped them up" and articulated the message of the piece: "It's time that we cut the funding." She urged viewers to call their congressional reps.
Never wasting an opportunity to bash Obama, Hannity "joked" that if the funding were cut, we could fund "all the Obama vacations" and restore White House tours. He shouted when he asked Strickler if taxpayers should fund Planned Parenthood. When she asked him if taxpayers should fund other things, he screamed "answer the question" which is "can we afford to fund Planned Parenthood when we can't open the White House for tours?" (Wow, women's health vs. White House tours)
THE BIG LIE
Hannity asked Nance if PP makes money on abortion, isn't it a big part of their business?
Nance claimed that they make "the vast majority of their funds on abortion."
Planned Parenthood does not receive any taxpayer dollars for abortion, per the Hyde Amendment. The receive only 13% of the revenue from abortion which constitute 3% of their services.
Should there be any question as to whether Fox News is part of the War on Women?!
Planned Parenthood's Services
Alisa LaPolt Snow appeared before the Florida State House of Representatives on Wednesday March 27 to discuss HB 759, the so-called “Infants Born Alive” bill which was sponsored by Republican Cary Pigman. Planned Parenthood initially opposed this bill, noting it to be “politically motivated and inflammatory language”. Planned Parenthood has also noted that the bill just states what is already part of existing medical procedures and Planned Parenthood policies. Meaning that the bill isn’t going to save lives. It was intended as another way to chip away at Roe v Wade, as I discussed in my earlier posts. That has been the intent of GOP politicians and pundits ever since they failed at their last major challenge at the Supreme Court.
During Ms Snow’s appearance, as preserved online, she was questioned by four Florida state legislators. The first three – Jim Boyd, Daniel Davis and Jose Oliva are all Republicans, who have been heavily featured in GOP outlets like Fox News with the “gotcha” questions they took the opportunity to throw at Snow. Their intent was clearly to get her to make a definitive statement they could use as a soundbite to help their cause. Snow realized this and refused to give them that opening. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out – the bill was specifically crafted to be an attention-getter, to rile up the GOP base. The sponsor is apparently trying to convince his House colleagues that he’s addressing some kind of a loophole, but Snow made clear in her comments that this matter was addressed last year in the Federal Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2012, specifically in the Neutrality Clause. A fourth representative, Democrat Mike Clelland, asked Snow some questions, trying to tie her down as to why Planned Parenthood opposed this bill, noting that Cary Pigman had stated that he didn’t think the federal law applied in this specific case, thus allowing him to introduce this bill. Snow corrected Clelland as simply as she could. He pressed her as to Planned Parenthood’s opposition and Snow clarified that there were two areas of concern – the biggest one being the surrender language.
To be clear, the original language of HB 759 had language that required the birth mother to surrender any infant born during an abortion procedure. This was a big part of the inflammatory nature of the bill, since the rest of it just restated what is already on the books. Planned Parenthood opposed this as it was clear the point of it was “to shame and judge a woman” rather than to accomplish anything helpful. There was a second issue having to do with the logistics of what measures could be taken to try to take an infant in this situation to a hospital. The point of the transportation element had to do with the requirement that this be done – Planned Parenthood had a logistical question about what happens when the travel time and distance is too great, the infant dies, and the physician is then held responsible for not fulfilling that part of the law. This part of the law still hasn’t really been answered.
But after this hearing, Cary Pigman backed down and removed the surrender language, at which point Planned Parenthood dropped their opposition and the bill passed the Florida House. I note that Mike Clelland also had issues with that language and only voted to approve this after the language was removed. Clelland was surprised to hear about this potential situation (a live birth during an abortion procedure) and was concerned to make sure that all attempts were being made to protect any life involved. We should be aware that Clelland ran in a newly-drawn, GOP-leaning district in 2012. Taking this position will no doubt help him in his re-election campaign with his conservative constituents.
I note that there weren’t two Democrats questioning Snow in the footage. Only one – Mike Clelland, for the reasons I gave above. And I note that it’s the GOP who’s been trying to make hay out of it ever since, whether that be Reince Priebus or Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford. Having one Democrat, who’s running in a conservative seat, and who has fallen for a GOP semantics gambit, say something in support of a bill that he thinks might be advantageous to him, does not constitute bipartisan support. HB 759 was a politically motivated bill that had no real purpose other than to generate headlines for the GOP and rile up their base.
I also note that Obama’s voting record in Illinois reflects that he and the other Democrats were deftly avoiding a series of “gotcha” bills that the GOP state legislators were trying to throw at them. In certain cases, the Dems would vote “present” rather than be put on the record making a ridiculous statement. These were not critical bills but instead the GOP making wild political statements and trying to force the Dems into an impossible position – either agreeing with the GOP on an extreme view of women’s rights or allowing themselves to be labelled as somehow supporting murder – just as Fox News is trying to play the current situation. In neither the Illinois matters nor the current one with the March 27th hearing is the Fox News position accurate or appropriate.