MSNBC Misleads Viewers on Bill to Stop Secret Teen Abortions

National   |   Ken Shepherd   |   Apr 2, 2012   |   1:36PM   |   Washington, DC

As Politico’s Dylan Byers reported on March 22, MSNBC insists that its programming from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern is straight news, rather than “point-of-view” programming. Clearly Alex Wagner of the 12 p.m. Eastern Now with Alex Wagner program hasn’t gotten the memo.

Take today’s program, for example, where Wagner mischaracterized a bill working through the U.S. House aimed at curtailing the interstate transportation of minors for the purpose of evading a state’s parental consent/notification laws on abortion.

In the midst of her opening segment on the GOP’s “Women Problems,” Wagner rattled off federal and state legislation she believed was turning women off to voting for Mitt Romney and for Republicans generally this November:

The House has voted to advance the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which makes it a crime for young women to have an out-of-state abortion without their parents’ [knowledge] including victims of rape and incest.

That suggests, erroneously, that bill would treat minors as criminals for crossing state lines for abortions, when in fact the bill would only punish the adults who transport the minor(s) across state lines, as reported on March 27 (emphases mine):

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday passed legislation that would make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without parental consent.

The bill sailed through the committee by a 20-13 party-line vote, with only Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico) siding with Republicans. It would impose a maximum penalty of one year in prison for someone transporting a minor and for physicians who perform or induce an abortion on an out-of-state minor in violation of parental notification requirements in the minor’s home state, except in cases where the life of the minor is in danger.

But there are in fact exceptions in the bill for rape and incest in Section 2435b(3) when (emphases mine):

“the minor declares in a signed written statement that she is the victim of sexual abuse, neglect, or physical abuse by a parent, and, before an abortion is performed on the minor, the physician notifies the authorities specified to receive reports of child abuse or neglect by the law of the State in which the minor resides of the known or suspected abuse or neglect”

Also of interest is the sponsorship of the bill, which cuts against Wagner’s war-on-women meme.

The chief sponsor in the U.S. House is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a pro-life but otherwise moderately-conservative [ACU lifetime score of 72.13% conservative] female legislator from Miami.

Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.), Renee Elmers (R-N.C.), and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) are just a few of the female cosponsors of the bill. In the Senate, the bill is co-sponsored by conservative female freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). Note: Ken Shepherd is the managing editor for NewsBusters and a former analyst at the Media Research Center who identifies examples of media bias. This originally appeared on NewsBusters and is reprinted with permission.