MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough had a brief exchange with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards Tuesday in which he brought up the inconvenient fact that some of the record number of women running for office are pro-life.
Richards touted that “women are the most powerful political force in the country right now not only taking action but also running for office in record numbers” while promoting her book “Make Trouble Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead--My Life Story.”
Scarborough asked Richards about pro-life women running for office.
“What can somebody who’s pro-life learn from this book,” he asked, “because I mean obviously there are a lot of pro-life women out there running as well and what message here is universal?”
Richards seemed a bit flustered and replied, “I think the universal message here is that women can’t wait until it’s their turn, I really do think that’s true.”
However, Richards went on to clarify that, while women can be pro-life, they need to understand that the government shouldn’t legislate that abortion decision for other women.
“I think a lot of this book too is really, Joe, about that you can be pro-life and you can also understand that that isn’t something that necessarily that government should be deciding for every woman in America,” she added, “and that’s overwhelmingly where people are I mean even in this time with Donald Trump taking aim at women’s rights and women’s health, the strongest support for Planned Parenthood even Fox News’s own poll two weeks ago showed that.”
This response is hardly surprising given that Richards has called the abortion issue "non-negotiable" for politicians in the past.
However, pro-life women who actually believe abortion should be illegal are not particularly rare. According to one Pew analysis 38 percent of women believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
Scarborough responded to Richards's point about the public's support for abortion by bringing up that “it’s closer if you talk about limiting abortions after twenty weeks and it’s always been a see-saw back and forth.”
Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, recently voiced his opinion that technology like 3-D ultrasounds will change the politics surrounding abortion, particularly late-term abortion, and lead more people to oppose it.
Richards, who is stepping down from her role at Planned Parenthood soon, also responded to a question from Scarborough about why “there are some people who are even pro-life that will tell pollsters, if you just look at the numbers, that they don’t want funding for Planned Parenthood cut.”
“It’s because I think they understand that look Planned Parenthood does more to prevent unintended pregnancy than any organization in this country,” she replied.
Planned Parenthood performed 321,384 abortions over this past year, according to their latest annual report. Since Richards took the helm in 2006, the number of abortions Planned Parenthood performs each year increased by nearly 11 percent. Richards is stepping down from her post in May.