South Dakota Abortion Ban And Debate Analysis

Tiffany Campbell of South Dakota talks about her activism against the abortion ban, and how legal abortion allowed her to have her baby. Also: debate analysis, and the question of Sarah Palin and feminism.

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Links in this episode:

RH Reality Check videos

Matthews clearly feels pro-women’s health

Cecile Richards on Hardball

Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow

The liberal feminist agenda

Lee Rodgers on why women only care about their looks

Bill Bennett doesn’t want to see you naked

Michael Savage lies about terrorism

This week on Reality Cast, I’ll be interviewing a very brave woman, Tiffany Campbell of South Dakota.  She’s here to talk about her medically necessary selective abortion, and why other women should have the rights that saved her baby’s life.  Also, it seems that America has come to a conclusion on the burning question of whether or not Sarah Palin is a feminist.  And some debate analysis and a quick lesson on domestic terrorism.  

New Reality Cast out!  This one is on stem cells, which is a favorite topic of mine because you get to see people who claim to be "pro-life" bend themselves into pretzels while arguing against potentially life-saving research.  

  • reality check *

You can see this and other videos at rh reality check dot org slash video.


I’m assuming everyone listening to this podcast was just as excited as I was when Bob Schieffer asked the presidential candidates a question about reproductive rights during the debate.  It’s this weird shadow issue, because while most Americans just consider it one of many important issues, the rabid anti-choicers consider it the only important issue and can make or break an election on it.  To make it worse, your average workaday American, much less media person, seems to think you can boil the whole issue down to the right to choose abortion in the first trimester.  Bob Schieffer’s question reflected this narrow perception.

  • debate 1 *

There’s a long series of problems with framing reproductive rights in this way, and not the least of which is that anti-choice politicians have a well-practiced answer to this that helps them appease anti-choicers while coming across as reasonable.  And that answer is, let’s all say it together, I have no litmus test on my appointees except, hint hint, I want them to be originalists.  And by originalist, I mean against Roe v. Wade.  McCain basically gave this answer.  In fact, he outright contradicted himself.

  • debate 2 *

If you want assurance that he’s going to overturn Roe, you can find it in that statement.  If you want assurance that he won’t, you can also find it in that statement.

Obama took an interesting tack.

  • debate 3 *

There’s some controversy in pro-choice circles about Obama’s insistence on referring to religious advisors when he describes a woman’s process in choosing an abortion.  I agree that it has a whiff of pandering to it, but  I can’t really care, because I think he’s also doing something interesting there, which is reminding people that being religious doesn’t automatically mean being anti-choice.

But the moment during the debate that caught everyone’s attention was when John McCain put air quotes around the concept of women’s health.

  • debate 4 *

I’ll just say in my living room we were shocked.  It’s interesting, too, because I think McCain just unraveled years of work from anti-choicers who want to create the illusion they care about women.  McCain indulged an ugly, sexist stereotype, that women wait until they’re 24 weeks pregnant and then think, "Oh gosh, I’ve changed my mind" and then lie to get an abortion.  The idea that women are fickle, flighty, and deceitful did not go over well with the audience.  Or with the media, who had a field day.   Chris Matthews was openly shocked.  

  • matthews health *

About once every three months, I’m forced to say this, but Chris Matthews made an astute observation.  He did it by framing the issue in the larger context of how we as a society value women.  And he’s right—questioning women’s honesty and right to health care is a classic tactic to degrade women as a class of people. Which is why the Taliban has all but banned gynecological care for women, which has resulted in many deaths, and that’s literal deaths, not air quote deaths.

Really, it obsessed Matthews.  He had Cecile Richards from Planned Parenthood on to talk about it.  

  • matthews health 2 *

And then again, Rachel Maddow and he discussed it.  

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She’s right.  NARAL immediately put an ad out expressing what you might call a little shock and awe about that moment.


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The way that politicians and pundits, especially those who lean to the right, are acting, you would think that feminism itself is a candidate for President.  I would actually rather see Feminism win than any candidate, especially the series of male candidates we get who look uncomfortable when they have to talk about abortion, but I suspect there’s a constitutional issue there.  But Feminism is getting bashed and getting defended and doing everything a candidate does, except of course fund-raising and making speeches.

I knew things were going to get rough for feminism when John McCain got a little excited bashing feminism on Fox News.  

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This comment made me wish that someone had just asked McCain what he thought on the question of whether or not Sarah Palin is a feminist before all the media hand-wringing over the issue.  He seems to think it’s obvious that the answer is no.  

In fact, the nation seems to have come together on this question that caused so much confusion amongst pundits mere weeks ago.  And everyone agrees.  Sarah Palin and feminists are mutually exclusive groups.  Which gives the right wing an opportunity they love to take, which is spreading the idea that the only reason women would want equality is that we’re bitter that creepy sexist anti-choicers refrain from asking for our sexual favors.  Lee Rodgers said it.  

  • lee feminism *

I’m continually impressed by the ability of right wing talk show hosts to convince themselves that feminists really want their lustful glances.  I know he wouldn’t believe me, but as someone who wears the label "feminist" without any hand-wringing, I would probably not feel anything but relief if I met Lee Rodgers and he kept his eyes to himself.  I’m just saying.

Bill Bennett also accused feminists of jealousy, because women can’t, of course, have substantive disagreements.  All women everywhere are in a death match to get Bill Bennett to wish he saw us naked.  That has to be it.  

  • Bennett feminists *

I don’t know.  Most feminists I know are happy and competent.  I can’t say that Bill Bennett would try to get their phone number, but it’s clear that he thinks that they should want that very much.  

Rachel Maddow replied to this.  

  • maddow replies *

But let’s make it clear.  It’s not just people on the right who have concluded that Sarah Palin is probably not a feminist, and this time it’s for reasons completely outside of whether or not the right punditry finds her attractive.  The Young Girls of America put together a video addressing Sarah Palin.  (

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts.  I don’t know what this segment would be without Michael Savage, but I do suspect the country on the whole would be better off if he retired from a career of hate-mongering and lying.  This week’s is a doozy.  

  • savage lies *

This is like a mega-lie.  Not only are not all terrorists Muslims, but the majority of terrorist attacks committed within U.S. borders are done by right wing Christians.  Yes, bombing an abortion clinic is terrorism.  So is shooting a doctor. Terrorism is politically motivated violence that’s supposed to intimidate a population.  Abortion clinic stalking, vandalism, bombing, and shooting fits the definition. Right wing domestic terrorism isn’t that forgettable, even.  Birmingham.  The Atlanta Olympics bombings.  The Oklahoma City federal building.  Are the perps in these cases retroactive Muslims and foreigners?

Tune in next week for the last podcast before the election.  And after that, we’ll be back to normal, which probably means a return to making fun of the Tyra Banks Show. 



Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • invalid-0

    No, bombing a babykilling abortion mill is not terrorism, it is heroism. It is saving innocent babies from being murdered by people like you.
    You seem to imply there is something wrong if a babykilling abortion mill is burned or bomb. Which do you prefer, a pile of bricks or a pile of dead babies? Innocent unborn babies deserve to be protected just as born children deserve to be protected. You would have no problem protecting born children if they were about to be murdered.
    SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and take away my sins and give me eternal life.

  • invalid-0

    Terrorist groups like Army of God don’t lend any credibility to your cause – crazed, murderous hypocrites that they are. Bombing abortion clinics is indeed terrorism. I don’t know how you can call yourself ‘pro-life’ when you advocate murder.

    I was also under the impression that law enforcement agencies do not look particularly kindly upon people who advocate terrorism?

  • invalid-0

    “No, bombing a babykilling abortion mill is not terrorism, it is heroism.”

    It is domestic terrorism and will get you 20 to life or more.
    Soon we’ll have an attorney general who, unlike the abominations Bush has appointed. will enforce the law. You should take some care.

  • amanda-marcotte

    The good news is that terrorist supporting, unhinged right wingers are really good at driving away normal people, and exposing the anti-choice agenda for what it is.

  • invalid-0

    Hey, RevSpitz, do you know what the 9/11 terrorists thought they were doing? Protecting their religious ideologies from American infidels who were threatening it. Just like your variety of terrorist thinks they’re protecting ‘babies’ from ‘evil’ doctors. You both murder people. You’re both delusional. You’re both terrorists.

  • invalid-0

    Simple. He did not say, It is a choice who you shall kill or not kill.
    You bombing & possibly killing anyone, abortionist or not, is not heroism. It’s a sin. I believe in the power of prayer and pray for the unborn and innocent ones. I pray for those who commit these heinous acts, but your “2 wrongs make a right” attitude is NOT the work of God.
    You are right – ABORTION IS MURDER! ABORTION IS WRONG! Only God “is the Creator of human life & Only God determines life.” And only God can judge us for the wrongs we commit in our lifetime.
    We are to “turn the other cheek and love our enemies”. As hard as that is, we need to trust that all will be shown the Truth in the End.