Repro Wrap: People of Note Say Things About Abortion—And It’s Not All Pretty


If I had the talent of an Ann Friedman, this would be an entirely GIF-based roundup. After all, most of the comments coming from high-profile sources have me doing this. Sadly, I only have the skill to tell you that some people of note who have been talking about abortion recently have not had pretty things to say.

Conservative pundit Erick Erickson created a firestorm of controversy when he referred to Texas senator and possible Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis as “Abortion Barbie.” Such comments are expected from a far-right political writer who has also claimed it is “anti-science” to reject the belief that men are dominant over women. Less common is the support of mainstream politicians for such incendiary rhetoric. Yet Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is also expected to run for the governor’s seat, got himself into hot water when he thanked a supporter online for sending the following tweet: “@GregAbbott_TX would absolutely demolish idiot @WendyDavisTexas in Gov race – run Wendy run! Retard Barbie to learn life lesson.” Abbott responded, saying he was “just ‘ripping off ‘Thank Yous’ to people who seemed like they were indicating support for me,” and that if he had read closer he would have condemned the use of the ableist language as “reprehensible.”

Former California Republican senate candidate Carly Fiorina told an ABC audience that Texas’ new law, which could shut down most of the clinics in the state, is “not particularly extreme.” “When Gov. [Rick] Perry pushed forward legislation in Texas to ban abortion after 20 weeks, it was labeled as an extreme move … That’s five months. Five months. There are only four counties in the world that have—that legalize abortion after five months: China, North Korea, Canada, and the U.S. That’s actually not a particularly extreme position to say a woman needs to have a choice up to five months, and then there really has to be a medical reason,” Fiorina said during an appearance on ABC on Sunday. Fiorina ignored not just the unconstitutionality of a pre-viability ban, but the portions of the bill that could close all but five of the over 40 clinics operating in the state.

Reality television star Willie Robertson may be considering a Louisiana house run, but his father Phil is the one making the news for his anti-choice rhetoric. At an event in Pennsylvania, the Duck Dynasty star and businessman spoke to a crowd about the need for more religion in government and his opposition to abortion. “Listen, from the time you started inside your mother’s womb, Thomas Jefferson had it right, you have the God-given right to live, for crying out loud. You’re this long!” he said, holding out his finger, according to TheWrapTV.com. “You’re a week old inside your mother. They suck you out of there when you’re about like that.” In reality, at one week after conception, an embryo is closer to the size of an apple seed.

Thankfully, not everything famous people had to say about abortion recently was bad. Actor Mark Ruffalo caused a stir at an abortion rights rally in Jackson, Mississippi, where he provided a personal letter testifying to the need for safe, legal abortion. In his letter, which was read at an event supporting the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, he shared a story of his mother’s illegal abortion. “It was a traumatizing thing for her. It was shameful and sleazy and demeaning. When I heard the story I was aghast by the lowliness of a society that would make a woman do that,” he said in his letter. “I don’t want to turn back the hands of time to when women shuttled across state lines in the thick of night to resolve an unwanted pregnancy, in a cheap hotel room just south of the state line. Where a transaction of $600 cash becomes the worth of a young woman’s life.”

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Follow Robin Marty on twitter: @robinmarty