MSNBC Hosts Segment on How Democrats Can Fight to Keep Abortions Legal

National   |   Brad Wilmouth   |   Sep 26, 2020   |   11:41AM   |   Washington, DC

On Thursday afternoon, MSNBC host Katy Tur put forth a strategy session for how a Democratic-controlled Congress might legalize abortion nationally in response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Just three days earlier, she similarly did her party for her fellow progressives by encouraging viewers to vote Democratic to help fight global warming.

Tur began by recalling President Donald Trump wants to fill the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Court “as quickly as possible,” and, after a clip of the President arguing it would be important to have all nine justices if there were a problem with the election, Tur then brought up abortion rights as she warned:

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That may be true, and it’s likely the President will fight the results of the election if he loses, but Supreme Court appointments are for life, and a 6-3 conservative majority would have repercussions well beyond the 2020 election, which may be another reason the President is so eager to fill the seat so quickly to galvanize single-issue, anti-abortion voters who want to see Roe v. Wade overturned…Let me add the caveat that the threat of overturning Roe v. Wade animates Democrats as well, so it could be a double-edged sword for the President.

After bringing aboard Russian collusion promoter Ben Wittes of the Brookings Institution, she asked about the possibility of Congress “federalizing abortion” if Roe v. Wade were struck down: “I asked you this question the other day, and you had a really interesting answer. Is there a legislative fix for federalizing abortion that would be hard to challenge at the Supreme Court if it turned out that there is a 6-3 conservative majority?”

After Wittes argued that it would be more legally sound for Congress to use the Commerce Clause in the Constitution as a basis for legalizing abortion nationwide, a fascinated Tur followed up:

So it’s not necessarily an argument that it’s a woman’s body, and she has the right to do what she wants with that body. You’re talking about writing this into law by using something that doesn’t necessarily come to top of mind, which is the commerce clause, and saying this is about transactions, and I guess using equipment that you buy over interstate lines that they transport and you can’t get involved in it. That’s a really complicated and potentially convoluted way to get this done. Is it possible with Congress for them to do that?

As the segment wrapped, Tur suggested that Democrats might want to try the idea if they win control of Congress (with Wittes touting the Democratic promises to abolish the filibuster):

TUR: I should add, this would be contingent on Democrats keeping the House, retaking the Senate, and winning the presidency. Ben Wittes, thank you so much for joining us and —

WITTES: And probably blowing up the filibuster, too.

TUR: — on top of that as well. Thanks for the thought experiment. I found it to be very interesting —

WITTES: Thank you.

TUR: — and a potential work-around for Democrats if they want to pursue it.

This episode of MSNBC Live with Katy Tur was sponsored by Jeep. Their contact information is linked. Note: Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst for the Media Research Center and a graduate of the University of Virginia. This column originally appeared on the NewsBusters web site and is reprinted with permission.