Andrea Mitchell Plots Strategy With Radical Abortion Guests


On Wednesday afternoon, Andrea Mitchell used her MSNBC show to discuss the strategy radical Democrats might use to overturn the new heartbeat law in Texas as she hosted liberal pro-abortion activists Cecile Richards and Joyce Vance. Mitchell introduced the segment by making a point of highlighting arguments used by liberals to argue against the Texas heartbeat law, while refusing to inform viewers that the law bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected:

 

 

The restrictive Texas abortion law on the Supreme Court’s so-called shadow docket were both a big topic of the Senate hearing this morning. Just days from now, a federal judge is going to consider whether to temporarily block the near total abortion ban in Texas following an emergency request from the Biden administration. The Texas law bans abortions after only six weeks when many women don’t even know they’re pregnant, providing also for no exceptions for rape or incest, and empowers citizens to enforce the law via civil lawsuits potentially awarding them $10,000 bounties.

Vance — a legal analyst for MSNBC who has defended abortion in court in the past — suggested that it was inappropriate for the Supreme Court to use the “shadow docket” to allow the Texas law to go into effect, leading Mitchell to follow up:

And, of course, the Texas decision was just a very quick measure basically in the middle of the night — late one night. Cecille, the House passed an abortion rights bill that codified protections against challenges with threats to Roe v. Wade, but it certainly is not going to get a vote in the Senate or survive in the Senate. If it comes to a point where Roe is overturned, what other avenues do Pelosi and Congress have given the divide in the Senate?

Richards — former president of Planned Parenthood — complained about congressional Republicans refusing to vote in favor of more abortion: “Well, it was great to see that bill pass the House, although I will note not a single Republican voted basically to support the right of people to safe and legal abortion. That’s how far the Republican party has gone, and, as you say, this is probably not going to get a hearing in the Senate.”

She soon further took aim a Republicans as she added:

Overnight women in that state lost access to safe and legal abortion. This was not something that just happened by chance. This was a Republican governor and a Republican legislature putting their own partisan political ambitions ahead of the women of Texas. And, as you know and as you all have covered, it has created total chaos for women, particularly women in rural Texas, young women, women who can’t drive 250 miles to get to another state to access what is a constitutional right in this country.

Mitchell then wondered how much chance the Biden administration Justice Department would have in trying to get the law overturned in her next follow-up:

The law in Texas, Joyce, was so carefully crafted to be outside of government authority giving the ability to bring it up in civil cases, as you know, and bounty hunters who don’t even have to know the person involved. So, what chance does the Justice Department have in an upcoming hearing — I think it’s on October 1st — to try to challenge the Texas law since it’s not the government that’s enforcing this.

This episode of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports was sponsored in part by Verizon. Their contact information is linked.

Transcript follows:

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports

September 29, 2021

12:51 p.m. Eastern

ANDREA MITCHELL: The restrictive Texas abortion law on the Supreme Court’s so-called shadow docket were both a big topic of the Senate hearing this morning. Just days from now, a federal judge is going to consider whether to temporarily block the near total abortion ban in Texas following an emergency request from the Biden administration. The Texas law bans abortions after only six weeks when many women don’t even know they’re pregnant, providing also for no exceptions for rape or incest, and empowers citizens to enforce the law via civil lawsuits potentially awarding them $10,000 bounties. All of this making the law a lot harder to challenge. 

Joining me now is Cecile Richards, the Texas native and co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century and the former president of Planned Parenthood; and former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance. Joyce, let’s talk about the law for a moment and the hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine the, quote, what they consider advocates, abuses of the shadow docket by the Supreme Court was recently in the Texas case. But Congress really can’t change that procedure, right, what the court does?

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It can’t change it directly, Andrea. But it can shine a light on it. And here I think what this hearing reveals is the connectivity between the shadow docket, which Republicans were very desperate this morning to recharacterize as an emergency docket. They were concerned about the characterization of it as something shadowy and dangerous. The problem is the Court uses this to issue often 5-4 opinions on difficult questions without any opinion or guidance for lower courts to follow. And so the hearing shined a light on that problem with the use of a docket as being against the way our courts are intended to function by writing opinions following full briefings so lower courts and people can have confidence in and understanding of those opinions.

MITCHELL: And, of course, the Texas decision was just a very quick measure basically in the middle of the night — late one night. Cecille, the House passed an abortion rights bill that codified protections against challenges with threats to Roe v. Wade, but it certainly is not going to get a vote in the Senate or survive in the Senate. If it comes to a point where Roe is overturned, what other avenues do Pelosi and Congress have given the divide in the Senate?

CECILE RICHARDS,EX-PRESIDENT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Well, it was great to see that bill pass the House, although I will note not a single Republican voted basically to support the right of people to safe and legal abortion. That’s how far the Republican Party has gone, and, as you say, this is probably not going to get a hearing in the Senate. What it means, of course, is that we are in a state by state fight, and, in the state of Texas, I would argue that Roe doesn’t even exist anymore. 

Overnight women in that state lost access to safe and legal abortion. This was not something that just happened by chance. This was a Republican governor and a Republican legislature putting their own partisan political ambitions ahead of the women of Texas. And, as you know and as you all have covered, it has created total chaos for women, particularly women in rural Texas, young women, women who can’t drive 250 miles to get to another state to access what is a constitutional right in this country.

MITCHELL: The law in Texas, Joyce, was so carefully crafted to be outside of government authority giving the ability to bring it up in civil cases, as you know, and bounty hunters who don’t even have to know the person involved. So, what chance does the Justice Department have in an upcoming hearing — I think it’s on October 1st — to try to challenge the Texas law since it’s not the government that’s enforcing this.

VANCE: We’re still in the early skirmishes on this sort of litigation. What the government is doing is they’re now trying to get an injunction that will block the Texas law from staying in effect, and they will be able to make arguments that weren’t previously available because now the law is in effect, and there’s a lot more available evidence to talk about — some of the harms and the diminishment of right that it creates. 

The government will also be able to do something that didn’t happen in the earlier shadow docket ruling, and that’s to create a record. They can actually bring in witnesses and evidence to talk about denial of rights. Andrea, here’s why that’s important. We, obviously, live in a world where people have different opinions on very important issues involving constitutional rights. And so what the shadow docket process essentially does is it lets the court just take a vote — just a 5-4 vote with no sort of underlying analysis. But what we need is a legal system of rule and law where the same rules apply in all cases. There can’t be one set of rules for abortion and another set of rules for religious rights. That’s really the issue that DOJ would be wise to focus on this Friday in their hearing trying to get a preliminary injunction.

MITCHELL: You’ve set the stage wonderfully for us, both of you — Joyce Vance and Cecile Richards — great to see you both. And we’re going to have to leave it there for today — to be continued.



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