MSNBC’s Wagner: Fetal Pain Argument About Taking Away Women’s Rights

Alex Wagner notes ‘a concerted effort to roll back reproductive rights.’

Another MSNBC host, another rote regurgitation of liberal conventional wisdom. This time, it was Alex Wagner, announcing that arguments about fetal pain have nothing to do with the protection of the most vulnerable. Instead, they’re all about making it “harder and harder and harder” for women. 

MSNBC host Alex Wagner introduced the segment on the “pseudo science” of fetal pain at 20 weeks on August 14 during “NOW with Alex Wagner,” and voiced anger at laws (such as in Texas) based on the “theory.” Wagner clarified, “We know that this isn’t really of course about fetal pain. It isn’t really even about, I mean, I would say, the protection of life. It’s about a concerted effort to roll back reproductive rights and make it harder and harder and harder for women to exercise control over their own bodies.”

To address the conflict, Wagner hosted an “awesome” panel where (surprise, surprise) no one disagreed. The guests consisted of Salon Assistant Editor Katie McDonough, Phsyicians for Reproductive Health Consulting Medical Director Dr. Anne Davis, and President of NARAL Pro-Choice America Ilyse Hogue.

That choir chimed in, “This is part of an agenda,” Hogue affirmed. In case it still wasn’t plain to Wagner’s hundreds of viewers, McDonough reiterated that fetal pain arguments are “part of a larger comprehensive national strategy to eradicate women’s access to legal abortions.” 

Not to be left out, Davis attacked the role of sonograms in the argument, saying, “I think the thing that’s contributed to confusion is sonograms,” as modern technology shows babies in the womb as “very detailed.” She worried about how fetal pain, “just adds something else onto the pile” for women considering abortion. Darned information, complicating what should be a simple exercise in girl power.

Searching for a solution, Wagner unabashedly asked, “How does one make sure that this movement doesn't gain further steam?” Hogue suggested, “We need to listen to the doctors and listen to the real women who are facing these impossible situations.” She added, “We're also tracking their crisis pregnancy centers around the country where they codify lying and humiliating women.” As for GOP politicians, she noted, “These folks have about as much credibility on fetal pain as Exxon does on climate change, right?”

Hogue’s analogy might have worked a little better if, instead of the GOP, she used an abortion industry player, like Planned Parenthood, or NARAL for that matter – both of which have substantial financial interest in an unregulated abortion market. 

Davis concluded the conversation by arguing on patient safety measures, claiming, “Having admitting privileges restrictions and turning your clinic into a hospital isn't going to make abortions any safer.” Wagner responded, “No. And by all means I think it probably does the opposite.”