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MSNBC Panel Slams 'Reprehensible' GOP Behavior and 'Ignorant' Rick Perry on Abortion

Media Research CenterOn Thursday's The Last Word, MSNBC's Lawerence O'Donnell hosted an all liberal panel to complain about Republican efforts to curtail abortion in Texas and Ohio, with O'Donnell trumpeting that Texas State Senator Wendy Davis "rocketed to political stardom" via her famous 11-hour filibuster.

Guest Ana Marie Cox of the Guardian mocked the GOP's "re-branding" effort and observed that the Texas legislature was "dominated by white men" who were "trying to put down the women in front of them." She went on call Republican behavior "reprehensible" and Texas Governor Rick Perry "ignorant." Cox:

I think we can say a lot of the rest of the country, the way that they behave, and how reprehensible that behavior can be, when we see it, when it's not done in the dark of night as the female politician from Ohio put it. I think this is a really amazing moment in American politics. I think that Rick Perry has exposed himself yet again as being rather ignorant.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Thursday, June 27, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC:

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Texas Senator Wendy Davis stood her ground during her filibuster the other night, and now Governor Rick Perry is trying to take her down.

(...)

O'DONNELL: Texas State Senator Wendy Davis rocketed to political stardom on Tuesday when she led a successful 11-hour filibuster of a Texas bill that would ban abortions 20 weeks after conception and add a regulation that would shut down nearly all abortion clinics in the state, which got Governor Rick Perry's attention.

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (R-TX): Even the woman who filibustered in the senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. She was the daughter of a single woman. She was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas senate. It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and every life matters.

O'DONNELL: Senator Davis released this statement today: "Rick Perry's statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds. They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view. Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Governor Perry fails that test."

And tonight in Ohio, the state general assembly passed a budget bill that includes a provision requiring doctors who perform an abortion absent a medical emergency to first determine whether there is a detectable fetal heartbeat of the unborn human individual the pregnant woman is carrying. Then inform the pregnant woman to the best of the person's knowledge of the statistical probability of bringing the unborn human individual possessing a detectable fetal heartbeat to term. Planned Parenthood also was put last in line and thus effectively cut off from federal family planning dollars. Republican Governor John Kasich has until Sunday night to line item veto those budget provisions.

(GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH (R-OH))

Joining me now from Texas, Democratic State Rep. Mary Gonzalez from Ohio, Democratic State Senator Nina Turner, and from Minnesota, Guardian columnist Ana Marie Cox. Rep. Gonzalez, can you explain to us what your governor was trying to say about Senator Wendy Davis?

(STATE REP. MARY GONZALEZ (D-TX))

(...)

O'DONNELL: Senator Turner, the Ohio legislature just couldn't let Texas have this week alone in the spotlight. They had to jump in with their legislation, too, I see.

STATE SENATOR NINA TURNER (D-OH): Yeah, Lawrence, it's terrible, you know. We had hundreds of folks at the state house today protesting this.  And particularly we had doctors that talked about how wrong-spirited these provisions are. You know, they tucked them into the budget bill, Lawrence, like thieves in the night, like cowards because they're too cowardice to have anti-women legislation stand alone so that we can debate the issues. It makes absolutely no sense, but to hear the doctors talk about the fact that the legislature is standing in the way of them being able to provide quality health care options for women, for their patients, for their familes. There is something wrong with that. And I will tell you, Senator Davis's name was invoked several times in Ohio today as she is an absolute "shero" for all of us throughout this country, standing up for the rights of women to choose.

O'DONNELL: Now, what are we to make of Governor John Kasich saying he's got to think about this one?

TURNER: I'm hoping that the governor will, you know, we offered him a red pen and we would like for him to line item veto the defunding of Planned Parenthood and to line item veto all of the craziness that is in that budget. You know, Lawrence, this is about options. This is about elections have consequences. And I agree with the representative. I think folks all across this country are going to wake up to the fact that we have some extremists in the legislature and in some governor's mansions and we cannot stand for this. We cannot go back in this country, and if we keep the types of people who are elected right now from Texas to Ohio, we are going back to a time where women are being treated like second-class citizens. So my plea to our governor, Governor Kasich, is to line item veto those anti-women provisions that are in the budget and have nothing to do with lifting Ohioans but have everything to do with putting their feets on the necks of women and the progress that we have made in this country.

O'DONNELL: Anna Marie Cox, a political generation ago, Tip O'Neil famously said, "All politics is local," and it seems in the way of today's media works, all politics is national, in a way. These activities go on. Republicans do these things in Texas and Ohio and all 50 states hear about it. And the impression of the Republican party continues to be a party that is much more concerned with what women are doing in terms of reproductive choice than anything else.

ANA MARIE COX, THE GUARDIAN: Yeah, way to go with that re-branding, right, Lawrence? You know, over 100,000 people wound up tuning in to Wendy Davis's filibuster the other night. And all 100,000 people saw a legislature dominated by white men, putting, you know, trying to put down the women in front of them, literally not calling on the female senator that tried to get attention when Wendy Davis was being shut down. It was a really amazing display of what the conservative Republicans in Texas, and I think we can say a lot of the rest of the country, the way that they behave, and how reprehensible that behavior can be, when we see it, when it's not done in the dark of night as the female politician from Ohio put it. I think this is a really amazing moment in American politics. I think that Rick Perry has exposed himself yet again as being rather ignorant.

I think the legislation in Ohio, again, is with the attention we're putting on it, one thing that it shows is that people seem to think that women don't understand what's going on with their bodies when they get abortions. I think it should be important to point out here most women who get abortions have actually had a  child. Sixty percent of the women that get abortions today have already had a child. They know what's going on inside their bodies when they make this terrible, terrible decision, when they make this difficult decision to go ahead and do this. So I think Americans recognize that that relationship between a woman and her doctor is the one that needs to be protected, not the relationship between Republicans and each other, I guess, which seem to be the only people really benefitting in this legislation.

-- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center