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Hayes Criticizes Perry for Not Mentioning ‘Abortion’ in Speech After Avoiding Term with Wendy Davis

• July 8, 2013 9:42 pm

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MSNBC host Chris Hayes hypocritically bashed Gov. Rick Perry (R., Texas) for not mentioning the word "abortion" in his Monday speech announcing he would seek another term in 2014, despite completely avoiding the word himself in an interview with Texas State Senator Wendy Davis June 26 after her filibuster of an anti-abortion bill.

Hayes also went after the GOP at large, citing several Republican governors who recently signed pro-life legislation into law as examples of  legislative "sneak attacks" and evidence that Republicans "refuse to be forthright" on the issue:

CHRIS HAYES: Tracking public opinion on abortion is treacherous business. It's one of the most difficult issues to get reliable polling on. So much changes depending on how you ask the question, but here's a tip-off. Watch the way anti-abortion Republicans are right now fighting this battle, and you won't need polling, because the way they're approaching this issue shows that even they don't believe that they are on the side of popular American opinion. I mean, given the chance today to use a high-profile, much-anticipated, nationally-watched speech to make the case for the draconian anti-abortion bill he is pushing through in Texas, Rick Perry did not even say the word abortion. That is the anti-abortion Republican M.O. right now. It's the sneak attack. Don't talk about abortion, don't say it's your priority, just do it, like when Ohio Republicans snuck a laundry list of new abortion restrictions into the state's budget which Republican Governor John Kasich signed into law on a Sunday night. Or when Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed that bill that was blocked tonight by a federal judge, the one designed to shut down most of his state's abortion clinics, on the friday after the Fourth of July in a private ceremony. Nothing is more telling than the way Republicans are fighting against abortion rights. Nothing tips the Republican governor's hand more than the fact they refuse to be forthright on this issue, the fact they refuse to talk about what they're doing. It's a sure sign they don't believe the people they represent are behind them.

After effusively praising Davis for her filibuster that stalled legislation that would enact tough abortion restrictions in Texas two weeks ago, the two threw out euphemisms like "access to health care," "this issue" and "fights on this terrain," but neither could actually say the word "abortion" during the interview segment that lasted more than five minutes. Hayes never criticized Davis for avoiding the word in multiple interviews, despite abortion being the signature issue that has elevated her to national prominence with liberals.

Moreover, The Weekly Standard reports there is significant data to suggest the public does support curbs on late term abortions, contrary to Hayes' assertion Monday evening:

A new National Journal poll on late-term abortion is somewhat biased against the pro-life side: The poll's question claims the bill passed last week in the House of Representatives only contains exceptions in the cases of rape or incest without mentioning that there is also an exception for when a physical health condition puts the life of the mother at risk. Despite the biased question, the poll still finds that a majority of women support the bill (50 percent to 44 percent), with Americans overall backing the bill 48 percent to 44 percent. Independent voters back the bill by 14 points (53 percent to 39 percent).

Gallup polls that ask more straightforward questions find that only 27 percent of Americans support second-trimester abortions and only 14 percent support third-trimester abortions.

Strong opposition to late-term abortion is often ignored by journalists. For example, last night Democratic state senator Wendy Davis filibustered a bill in Texas banning most abortions later than 20 weeks into pregnancy. Her filibuster was treated as a popular uprising by many in the press, but a Texas Tribune poll found that 62 percent of Texans supported the restriction on late-term abortions.

Published under: Abortion, Chris Hayes, MSNBC, Video, Wendy Davis