The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 01/18/13
ED SCHULTZ, “THE ED SHOW” HOST: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. I will see on Monday in D.C.
It`s going to be a fun Inauguration Day.
SCHULTZ: I`ll tell you what? I might jump out of the booth and join
the parade. You`ll never know.
MADDOW: Thanks. I`ll see you there, man.
SCHULTZ: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us tonight.
Have you ever heard of the VIX? It`s spelled V-I-X. VIX is kind of a
mashed together acronym for volatility index. It`s sometimes called the
VIX is a numerical index of volatility and fear in the stock market.
It tells us in chart form, in numerical form, how these guys are feeling,
if they get spooked by their bosses, or by their clients, or by their
horoscopes, or whatever.
If they start trading like crazy people for whatever reason, then the
VIX goes up. It registers fear.
What causes the VIX to spike typically is news about the economy,
actual real-world events. This, for example, is what happened to the VIX
on October 24th, 2008, that big red arrow there. That`s when the stock
market crashed in `08, right? One of the worst days of the Great
Recession, very scary, and a record high VIX.
Another spike happened on May 20th, 2010, when there was sudden new
that is Europe`s economy was even in worse shape than we thought. The VIX
really spiked at a two-year high on August 8th, 2011. That was when the
U.S. credit rating got downgraded. Republicans in Congress had threatened
to default on our national debt and credit rating got downgraded.
And as you can see there, Wall Street freaked out. VIX went way up.
You can think of a high VIX reading, a spike in the VIX is kind of a
red light flashing. Alert, alert. Maybe your economy is tanking. Or
maybe it isn`t. But a lot of people on Wall Street have reason to believe
that it is. Panic.
Well, today, as he kicks off his inauguration weekend, President Obama
was given a great present by the VIX. This is the present that VIX gave to
Barack Obama today to celebrate his inauguration as a second-term president
of the United States.
Look. Happy inauguration, Mr. President. Things are kind of OK. In
fact, today`s low VIX is the lowest VIX since the spring of 2007.
That`s VIX going down. VIX is low. Fear is low.
Also for the record, the Dow Jones hit a five-year high today. Mazel
tov, Mr. President. Have a great weekend.
The reason for this, this low VIX were dropping, opposite of a freak-
out. The reason for this today was pretty simple. Republican Congressman
Eric Cantor telling the world, quote, “Next week, we will authorize a
three-month temporary debt ceiling increase.”
That was the announcement from the majority leader of the House
Republicans, announcing that they are giving up on what they had been
saying for months was their plan, to not approve an increase in the debt
ceiling, to thereby push the country again into a self-imposed economic
crisis and threat of defaulting on our national debt and all the panic we
know that causes because they did it before, because they did it in 2011.
And Eric Cantor announced today that they are not going to do that
again, even though they had been saying for months that they would. They
gave up today on that threat. And that`s why the VIX panic index stopped
panicking today. That`s just the nice kickoff for the president on what is
probably going to be a pretty nice weekend for the president.
The White House today unveiled new second term official portrait.
This is the second term one. To refresh your memory, this is the first
term one. Same flag pin, same – similar blue tie, I guess, lots more gray
I don`t know why they decided to go from the close cropped ID photo
look from the first term to the I`m standing here in my office and I`m
happy to be here look. I kind of like the new big smiling one.
And actually, there is a direct parallel here for a previous two-term
president. Check this out. This is Ronald Reagan`s first-term portrait
and this is Ronald Reagan`s second-term portrait. Put those up, side by
That is how President Reagan went from portrait one to portrait two.
From start of term one to start of term two.
Now look at President Obama. See similarities there? It`s not like
every president does this. Just Reagan and now Obama.
I think people make too much of the political parallels between Obama
and Reagan, but aesthetically, you kind of can`t make too much of this one.
In this case in the evolution of the official portrait, I think you can
make as much of this parallel that you want to because that`s kind of an
uncanny thing, isn`t it?
Now, the new portrait is out. The new term is about to start. And we
here at MSNBC and everybody in the news business is gearing up for
inaugural weekend coverage.
This is going to be my second time covering an inauguration. We`ll
have the whole schedule for you of when everything happens and when it`s
going to be on TV, how you can make sure you can catch all the good stuff.
That`s coming up a little later on in the show tonight.
But, of course, at times like this, newbies like me who have only
covered one of these before or none of these before, we all tend to turn to
the veteran journalists among us for advice on how to handle an event like
this, how to try to get the most out of an event that frankly is way too
big to take in all at once.
At the first Obama inauguration four years ago, the paragon of
experience and grace under pressure was, of course, the great Andrea
Mitchell, who set a new standard in 2008 for dauntless reporting in
coverage of a marathon political event including a memorable turn on a
flatbed truck. On Andrea`s show today, her 1:00 show on MSNBC, Andrea was
talking about previous inaugurations and in so doing, she was able to show
footage of herself covering all of the inaugurations she has covered.
I mean, it wasn`t just 2009, right? It was 2005, George Bush`s second
inaugural. She also covered 2001, the first Bush inaugural. It was 1997,
the Bill Clinton second inaugural. It was 1993, the first Bill Clinton
She was there also in 1989 when George Bush, the elder took over. She
was there in 1985, President Reagan`s re-election. She was there in 1981,
the first Reagan inaugural. That`s Andrea Mitchell.
If I end up doing these for as long as Andrea Mitchell has done these,
I will be covering every inauguration from now until 2041, by which time I
will be coming to you, presumably, as a hologram. So help me God.
One of the things that is specific to covering a second inaugural, as
opposed to a first inaugural, when one president is leaving and another is
starting, and we`re covering a second inauguration, like we will be this
year, there is something a little bit different. There is a sense that
governing is already under way, that you already know that this president
has started some things that he intends to finish in his second term. This
sort of a sense of continuity, a pretty well-informed expectation about
what kind of president this is going to be and where he is likely to go.
When President Obama was inaugurated the first time, there was none of
that certainty and expectation, right? I mean, the country and all of us
were caught up in the historical enormity of the fact that the United
States of America was about to swear in our first African-American
president, and that eight years of Republican administration under Bush and
Cheney was coming to an end.
That inauguration in 2009 was such a dramatic break from the past,
toward a whole new future that I don`t think anybody expects that we will
have an inauguration quite as consequential as the last one maybe ever
again. But we now know, as part of the historical record, that while the
whole country was marveling at the enormity of the transition we were
making on inauguration night in 2009, something else was going on that
night in Washington and it had a very different vibe.
It was first reported in Robert Draper`s book, “Do Not Ask What Good
We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives.” It came out this past
April. In the “Frontline” documentary of President Obama`s first term that
aired this week on PBS, they got everybody to go on record about this.
Lest you thought this was an apocryphal thing, it turns out this
really did happen on inauguration night four years ago. The very first
night that President Obama was President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: On a very night Barack Obama was inaugurated, a group of
Republicans quietly gathered to develop plans for taking on the new
ROBERT DRAPER, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: A meeting, a dinner took
place in the famous steakhouse in downtown Washington with Newt Gingrich as
sort of the emcee, as it were.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: The thing I found disturbing
NARRATOR: At the gathering of GOP luminaries, top conservative
Congressman Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan, senate power brokers
Jim DeMint, Jon Kyl, Tom Coburn, and event organizer Frank Luntz.
DRAPER: So they decided that they needed to begin to fight Obama on
everything. This meant unyielding opposition to every one of the Obama
administration`s legislative initiatives.
They all talked about this and they began to get more and more
optimistic and they left feeling practically exuberant.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Inauguration Day full of events, 10 – count
them – 10 official inaugural balls.
NARRATOR: Across Washington that evening –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A stunning crowd of people.
NARRATOR: – the new president had no idea what the Republicans were
EMCEE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States and
NARRATOR: Surrounded by supporters at the inaugural balls, the mood
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn`t have a full sense of what Washington was
going to be like for him. He had not been in the middle of these kind of
down and dirty fights, the ugly reality of governing in Washington today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That really did end up being a hallmark of President Obama`s
first term in office, right, what happened that first night, that first
night of his inauguration, what the Republicans were meeting about in
Washington that night became the story of a large part of his first term,
trying to negotiate, trying to bargain, trying to come to middle ground
with Republicans and Republicans saying, no, no. No, no, never. No, no –
no matter what he offered.
That is why we had a first term in which this president kept offering
the Republicans that he would go along with their Republican ideas and,
mysteriously, they would even say no to their own ideas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This law failed by
seven votes. When seven Republicans, who had co-sponsored the bill, had
co-sponsored the idea suddenly walked away from their own proposal after I
So they make a proposal, they sign on to the bill. I say, great.
Good idea. I turned around, they`re gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This was a hallmark of President Obama`s first term.
Republicans were going to say no, no, no, no matter what he offered. Even
if what he offered was their own idea in the first place. That is how it
went for months and then that is how it went for years.
And now, what`s new? He is not doing that anymore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I have put forward a very clear principle. I will not
negotiate around the debt ceiling. You know, we`re not going to play the
same game that we saw happen in 2011. So we`re not going to do that.
But I will not negotiate around the debt ceiling. We`re not going to
do that again.
As I said earlier this week, one thing I will not compromise over is
whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they`ve already
What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head
of the American people. That`s not how we`re going to do it this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This evolution in the president`s strategy for dealing with
Republicans and recognizing their strategy against him and knowing what he
can and cannot expect to get out of them – on the last business day of his
first term, it paid off today. And them giving up their demand that he
needed to negotiate with them on the debt ceiling. Today, they recognized
that they were not going to get that.
And today, the Republicans caved. And the VIX was very happy.
At this point, the Republicans are still trying to hand contingencies
on this. They`re still trying to say they only going to cave to three
months and then they`re going to be back to demanding negotiations again
but essentially it is over. President Obama called their bluff.
Business interests, and markets, the people who make decisions that
contribute to this would blame them if they screwed up the country`s
economy again on purpose like they did back in 2011. They have shown that
they care enough about that to avoid that eventuality. And so, they will
no longer be able to make that bluff again, in three months or ever.
Today, they are saying, ah, three months, we`re going to be back here.
But nobody believes them.
This weekend, the other thing that`s happening in Washington is the
Obama campaign legacy project – 4,000 Obama campaign volunteers and
supporters will be meeting this weekend at a hotel in Washington, with the
top brass of the Obama election campaign, to talk about how the
organization that got this president elected, not just once, but twice, can
now be used for maximum political effect during his second term. The
heavies of the Obama political team, senior adviser David Plouffe, former
campaign manager Jim Messina, former top aides like Robert Gibbs, are now
going to be part of a permanent campaign organization called Organizing for
It was announced today in a video by President Obama and the first
lady. And nothing like this has ever happened before. Politicians have
talked before about the idea of a permanent campaign but the campaign
structure that elected a president has never formally been turned into an
organization designed to exist outside that White House in order to help
that president get done what he wants to get done.
The group says their first three priorities are supporting the changes
that the president just proposed to stop gun violence, also climate change,
also immigration. Any one of those things is a huge political lift, taking
on all three of them is a sign, I think, of seriousness for how hard this
White House is planning on fighting for those things in the second term and
the kinds of resources they are planning to bring to bear.
Four years ago in 2009, our country inaugurated our first-ever
African-American president. We had never done that before as a nation.
Four years later, this weekend, we are also doing something new. We
are inaugurating this particular president again – grayer, maybe even
skinnier than he was before, wiser, definitely happy to be here, under
absolutely no illusions of who he can work with and who he cannot work
with. And how he can work over, under and around those who will never work
with him, no matter what he proposes.
I think this is going to be fun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I put forward a very clear principle. I will not negotiate
around the debt ceiling. You know, we`re not going to play the same game
we saw happen – saw happen in 2011. So, we`re not going to do that. I
will not negotiate around the debt ceiling. We`re not going to do that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: After President Obama spent his first term, much of it at
least, trying to negotiate with Republicans in Congress, he made it very
clear recently that he would not play that same game again on the debt
ceiling. Not again.
And today, after months of insisting that the president really did
have to negotiate with them on that, Republicans in Congress gave up.
Joining us now is David Corn, whose book “Showdown” chronicles a first
term`s worth of this president`s stand off with congressional Republicans.
David, thanks for being here.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Good evening, Rachel.
MADDOW: Eric Cantor today said, yes, we`re going to give up on the
debt ceiling thing, but we`re only giving up for three months.
What did you make of that?
CORN: Well, you know, I`m the last guy who wants to cause a spike in
the VIX. But, you know, there are a couple of things to think about here.
I call this plan R for runaway.
But we know that John Boehner often has had trouble with his various
plans. Plan B most notoriously, getting them approved, accepted and passed
by his own House Republicans.
And Cantor made a very declarative statement today. We`re going to
bring this to a vote. And you do that, you think you have the votes. But
there already immediately were grumblings that some House Republicans may
not go along with this. I`m not sure that Democrats will, too, if it`s a
temporary extension of three months time.
So, it remains to be seen whether, indeed, John Boehner and Cantor can
get passed what they want to do. And then again, this is just another
Now, the good news for the VIX watchers out there is that this puts it
past, you know, the coming showdowns on sequestration and C.R., all
Washington terms, involving the budget, and which will all kind of happen
in March. So this is one cliff that may not happen as two other cliffs are
But three months from now, depending what happens with those cliffs
and what happens with the economy, the House Republicans, the Tea Partiers
and the let`s, you know, blow it to hell members of the Republican caucus
may not want to go along with this for another extension.
So, the president has clearly won, he steered them down, as he said he
would, and they come up with a temporary retreat that may turn into a
permanent retreat. But it`s still not quite resolved.
MADDOW: Yes, I totally agree with you. It`s not resolved and I don`t
think we know exactly how this will play out on the Republican side and
whether this three-month thing is ultimately going to fly. But with
Republicans sort of blinking here – and at least going to chaos mode, what
do you make of the president`s change in strategy on this? I mean, how do
you think – having written “showdown” about how he was dealt with these
things before versus how he`s dealing with it now, do you think he was
evolved in his understanding of how to best deal with these guys?
CORN: I think my answer is yes and no. One of my favorite scenes in
“Showdown” is during the previous debt ceiling standoff, one of the issues
was when would the next debt ceiling be reached. You know, remember the
Republicans – and even Harry Reid suggested that they do this every six
months, get a temporary extension and come back in six months. At one
point, the Republicans were proposing three extensions, three votes before
the next election.
And the president, meeting with his own aides about this said that`s
it. I`m done. I`m not doing this. This is not how the Constitution was
meant – was designed. Our Founding Fathers did not envision a day when
members of Congress could hold the president hostage by not paying the
bills they themselves had racked up.
And, you know, as often happens in these situations, the cooler heads
on his staff said, well, Mr. President, we understand how you feel, but we
may have to cut the – no, I`m not going to do it.
He was very firm because he believed it was not just affecting him but
about preserving the status of the presidency for future presidents.
And in the end, one of the things he was most proud of in that deal
was not giving in to that. But at the time, the debt ceiling story had not
been fully told. At the beginning of that fight, the poll was something
like – he asked the public, should the debt ceiling be raised, 85-15,
CORN: The president was really on the wrong side. By the end of it,
it had evened out in the polls and Republicans ended up being blamed more
so. And the economy was also in a more fragile position than it even is
now. So, the president and people around him were much worried about what
a default might do in terms of a financial crisis here and abroad.
Fast forward to now, and I think the president won the message debate.
He convinced the public that playing hostage-taking with the debt ceiling
was the wrong thing to do. And he also now has the business community, all
those people watching the VIX who don`t want to go through that again. He
is in a much stronger position now to take that stance that he felt back
The circumstances have made it easier for him to play this game of
chicken and actually, at least, win for the next three months.
MADDOW: I think even that is fascinating, taking it from the table
with his advisers, which you were able to report, to now taking it to the
podium, pounding his fist on the podium and getting his way. It`s going to
be a fun second term.
David Corn, Washington bureau chief of “Mother Jones”, the author of
CORN: I hope so.
MADDOW: It feels like it already. It starts this weekend.
Thanks a lot, David. It`s great to have you here on a Friday night.
CORN: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. What is it like doing your job every day when your
state`s government and occasionally violent protesters are trying very hard
to make you stop doing your job? Tonight`s RACHEL MADDOW SHOW`s special
report tells that story firsthand.
MADDOW: On the day the Supreme Court ruled that women in this country
have a constitutionally protected right to have an abortion, that ruling
got second billing on front pages around the country. That`s because it
happened on the same day that LBJ died. So, you can see there, the second
story, high court rules abortions legal. State bans ruled out.
But it was a day when another story was getting the world`s attention.
That we are 40 years on from that ruling and for 40 years, the anti-
abortion movement has tried to render that ruling moot, trying to make that
right impossible to exercise. And that has led to a whole new way of
practicing medicine in this country, practicing medicine under siege. That
story is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R), MISSISSIPPI: I think it`s historic that today,
you see the first step in a movement, I believe, to do what we campaigned
on, to say we`re going to try to end abortion in Mississippi. We`re going
to continue to try to work to end abortion in Mississippi. And this is an
historic day to begin that process.
LT. GOV. TATE REEVES (R), MISSISSIPPI: It`s been seven years since we
got good pro-life legislation passed out of the Mississippi legislature.
That`s a bill that gives us a great opportunity to do – to accomplish what
our goal needs to be. Our goal needs to be to end all abortions in
Mississippi. I believe the admitting privilege bill give us the best
chance to do that.
STATE REP. BUBBA CARPENTER (R), MISSISSIPPI: We have literally
stopped abortion in the state of Mississippi. (INAUDIBLE)
Three blocks from the capital sits the only abortion clinic in the
state of Mississippi. A bill was drafted. It said if you perform an
abortion in the state of Mississippi, you must be a certified OB/GYN and
you must have admitting privileges to a hospital. Anybody here in the
medical field knows how hard it is to get admitting privileges to a
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: If you are not in the medical field, here`s how hard it
proved for the doctors in Mississippi`s only remaining abortion clinic to
get admitting privileges to a hospital. It proved to be impossible. No
hospital, not one, has been willing to grant privileges to the doctors who
work at Mississippi`s only remaining abortion clinic.
The clinic`s owner tells the “A.P.” that the doctors applied for
privileges at several hospitals, each application, a long, difficult,
complicated process. They applied at multiple hospitals and were turned
down by every one of them. And that, of course, was the point. The
governor, the lieutenant governor, the state`s legislators of Mississippi
admit that what they`ve been trying to do in their state is end women`s
access to abortion.
Constitutionally, the state cannot make it illegal, but that has not
stopped Republicans and state government there from trying to make it
impossible. The last clinic in the state, which does a lot more than
provide abortions, I should say, the deadline for that clinic to comply
with this new state law, enacted specifically to close it down, that
deadline was last Friday. The day before that deadline, Mississippi
Governor Phil Bryant reminded a room full of pastors at an anti-abortion
luncheon why he signed that bill in the first place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: My goal, of course, is to shut it down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: “My goal, of course,” he says, “is to shut it down.”
After Friday`s deadline passed, the next step was to make the Health
Department make an unofficial visit to the clinic in order to officially
determine whether the facility was in compliance with the law. That visit
happened this week. No word yet on the state`s findings from the visit but
the clinic has already said publicly that it has not been able to comply
with these designed to be impossible to comply with new law.
Once it receives the state`s report, the clinic will have 10 days to
ask the Health Department for a hearing. And then at that hearing, the
state could presumably close the clinic for good, the last clinic in the
state. Then, there will be no legal access to abortion in the state of
Mississippi. The first state to have figured out a way to do that since
Roe versus Wade, established 40 years ago this week that supposedly that
could never again happen in our country.
The Mississippi Health Department`s unannounced visit to the last
clinic in the state happened on Wednesday. That was also coincidentally
the day that our producers at that show were at the clinic to document what
it is like to be the last hold out in the first state that could be about
to revert to pre-Roe versus Wade America.
This is our special report.
REBEKAH DRYDEN, TRMS PRODUCER: Are we at a point right now where you
don`t know if the clinic will be able to stay open?
BETTY THOMPSON, ORGANIZER, JACKSON WOMEN`S HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We
have no idea whether the clinic will stay open. We are letting the
patients know as well what the situation is. We – hopefully, the briefs
that have been filed will – the judge will have an opportunity to look at
those and see how this law is really a trap law.
DRYDEN: This is the only abortion clinic in the entire state of
THOMPSON: Yes, it is.
DRYDEN: If you are forced to close your doors here, what happens to
women in this state?
THOMPSON: We hate to think about what`s going to happen to women, and
their health care, in this area in the state of Mississippi. It`s – from
Jackson, Mississippi, it`s three hours, any direction that they want to go.
It already places a hardship on women because Mississippi really is a poor
We`ll be here to try to give them some direction and help, no matter
what happens. If the clinic is closed, someone will remain here to give
them some direction for a long period of time.
We know that being in this type of work, there are consequences.
There are consequences, as we come into work every day. We worry about
lots of things. We want to know and make sure that we are safe.
CAL ZASTROW, PROTESTOR: Abortion is not a quick, safe, simple little
THOMPSON: We want to make sure that the women coming to us are safe.
But I have found that the women that work with other women love their jobs.
And there`s no keeping them away from their employment here at Jackson
Women`s Health. They love their bosses. They love the owner and they love
DRYDEN: How do you know what day is there providing abortion?
ZASTROW: They stream in like lemmings. You guys saw in the last half
hour, over 12 moms came in and are in there now. So, it`s pretty obvious
when they`re coming.
THOMPSON: We do take security seriously. We are ever vigilant when
we come to work, when we leave work and just in the community at large.
NAOMIA SUGGS-BRIGETY, JACKSON STATE UNIV. STUDENT/ACTIVIST: They`re
just like any other clinic in like low-income neighborhoods. They provide
a wide variety of services and they affect people who mostly look like me,
you know, who come from backgrounds that are similar of my own.
When you close these clinics, you not only end abortion services, but
you end, you know, other reproductive health issues and women`s health
issues, which are so important, because especially in low-income
communities, women are the backbone of those communities. So, when you
shut down clinics like these, you hurt people in so many ways.
MADDOW: The clock is now ticking for the Jackson Women`s Health
Organization, the last remaining abortion clinic in the entire state of
Mississippi. If or when it goes, if that clinic goes, that will be it for
the women of Mississippi, for what is a constitutional right established 40
years ago next week by the U.S. Supreme Court.
After the break, it turns out Mississippi is not alone.
Our special report continues. Stay with us.
MADDOW: There are places in this country that look from the outside
like nondescript buildings, until you happen to notice that there are no
windows facing the street and that guy hanging out at the front entrance is
an armed, plain clothes security officer and he is guarding the front door.
Once you get inside, there are security check points and metal
detectors. The lobby is lockdown from the rest of the building. There are
key pads with secret codes, not just to get in, the first place, but even
once you are inside to get from one wing of the building to the other.
There are security cameras monitoring every corner of the building. The
folks who work at these places sometimes come to work in disguise and when
they come to work, they take a different route each day.
Sometimes they park their cars off site and are driven into the office
by a different person each week, who also takes a different route each
time. Some of them use assumed names outside the office.
These places are not field offices of the NSA or the CIA or some cagey
private military contractor. These are medical offices. This is the way
that medicine is being practiced in one small segment of the medical field.
It is unlike anything else in American medicine. It is unlike any other
part of American life that is not national security or corrections or
But it is how you live if you are an abortion provider in a part of
the country where aggressive hostility to abortion rights sometimes
manifests as violence. These are not temporary security measures people
adopt during a lockdown or at a particular time of crisis. This is day-to-
day, everyday life.
It is a very strange way to live or work. There are four states in
this country where there is only one abortion clinic in the whole state,
including Mississippi, which as we discussed, is facing the prospect of
becoming the first state where abortion access is, effectively, gone.
And if you are the only abortion provider in your state, it turns out
that that makes your one medical office and, therefore, the women who seek
medical care there, it makes them really easy targets for people who would
like to end abortion in that state through harassment, or intimidation or
through state government.
Trying to understand the constitutional edge that we are on right now
in terms of abortion rights existing on paper versus existing in reality,
part one of our special report yesterday was about recovering and regaining
access to abortion rights in a part of the country where that access was
ended 3 1/2 years ago by murder. That was Kansas, where that
constitutional right is being protected and regained by a very savvy and
determined group and were the focus of last night`s special report, part
Tonight, Mississippi, which as we just talked about, may become the
first state in the country where that constitutional right is not
successfully defended, and it goes away.
In the middle of those two benchmarks, there are these three other
states where there is only one clinic. It turns out that practicing
medicine in that circumstance and being a patient in that circumstance is
both a hard thing and a very interesting thing. Producers from this show
visited each of these states this week to find out 40 years after Roe what
it`s like for the people who live this way, who are the only abortion
provider in their state, the only thing that is making a right to an
abortion a real right where they live and where they work.
Some of them spoke to us on the record, on camera, and some of them
ask that we conceal their faces for their safety. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH STOESZ, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: It is very hostile here. There`s
no question about it. There are certainly other states that also have
hostile climates for women`s health. But South Dakota is its own unique
monster in so many ways. It is a climate that is influenced, in part, by
outside agitators who view South Dakota as an easy mark.
TAMMI KROMENAKER, RED RIVER WOMEN`S CLINIC DIRECTOR: When you`re the
only provider in a state, you become a target for both your local people
who disagree with the services you offer and you get put on the national
radar and you get put on the national map. People would like to say this
state is the first abortion-free state. They would like to just completely
get rid of all of the clinics and say no abortions happen here.
When I walk into the clinic and there`s protesters outside, they`re
using my name and they say things to me as if we`re friends and as if we
know each other. It doesn`t happen in any other business where people are
allowed to act like stalkers and use your first name and, you know, try to
intimidate you on your way into work. There`s no place elsewhere you would
work where somebody would be allowed to act that way.
DOCTOR, ARKANSAS ABORTION PROVIDER: Now I have young children. Well,
three, 13, 14 and just turned 16. And it affects me in that they are
sometimes harassed at school. The anti-choice forces have gone to the
schools and actually leafletted my neighborhood with my picture and
defamatory statements made concerning me.
And so, it has affected me in that way. But I think it`s actually
strengthened my children. We`ve had long discussions about the need for
choice and the need for the service. Making abortion illegal just kills
women. It doesn`t stop abortion.
DRYDEN: Do you ever worry about your safety?
DOCTOR: I always look around before I step out of a door. But,
again, I`m on Social Security and Medicare and have had a good life and,
you know, somebody has to do this. And I won`t be intimidated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: South Dakota, North Dakota, Arkansas. The reasons why each
of these states have only one clinic vary from state to state, Mississippi,
too. But in each of these states, it was not always the case. Each of
these states used to have more than one abortion provider and in each of
these states only one clinic is now left.
And the same intimidation and targeting that in many cases helped
shrink the abortion clinic population down to one in each of these states
makes it all but certain that no one else will try to open another clinic
in these states any time soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOCTOR: In the early `70s, after Roe v. Wade, there were 17
physicians providing abortion services in central Arkansas. As the anti-
choice forces became more and more well-versed in their coercive tactics,
these physicians started to dwindle.
By the time I entered abortion practice in 1985, there were five
physicians in Little Rock and one in Fayetteville doing terminations. Now,
we have younger physicians from out of state come in so I can go on
vacation or get a break.
But if you`re not going to be an abortion provider, solely an abortion
provider, and then you`re going to have severe consequences with the
practice outside of the rest of your practice. If you`re an OB/GYN, you`ll
lose patient. If you have partners, they`re going to harass you about your
abortion services. So over time, we have become the sole provider, because
STOESZ: There is no question that if other providers in this state
would also help women, would also provide abortion services, we wouldn`t be
so isolated and it would be much less easy, it would be more difficult for
outside forces to pressure us and it would be more difficult for them to
get some of this terrible legislation passed, and it would create a whole
different atmosphere. So I really do think that the – the fact that we
are the only provider is an enormous problem. And it is an opportunity for
the other side to target us, and to target women`s access to health care
and to target women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: For these providers who are the only ones left in their
state, who are sticking it out, who are willing to take personal risks to
provide access to a legal, constitutionally protected medical procedure, in
talking to them, it becomes clear that their lives and working not just
about security cameras and looking over their shoulders and carrying
concealed weapons, although some of them do.
It is about doing a job that is important and that they think is
rewarding. They might have to fight protesters in their own state
governments and fear violent extremists who threaten them. But they are
basically what you think of as happy warriors. They believe in the work
that they are doing. They find it satisfying work. They are glad to be
doing what they do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STOESZ: Being in Planned Parenthood in South Dakota is where the
rubber meets the road for women individually and for the future of the
movement, for reproductive rights here in this country.
It is very, very challenging to do this work here. It is like no
other place. And for that reason, it is in some ways the most meaningful
part of our whole movement, and certainly what I do every day. I have
never looked back, ever looked back.
And to this day and I think until the day I die I will consider this
work to be the most important work I have ever down.
CLINIC DIRECOTRL, ARKANSAS ABORTION PROVIDER: It is the morally right
thing to do. We are needed. Our skills, our level of care, is needed by
our patients. And so, despite the obstacles that we face I think it is
It is also very rewarding. Our patients are often very, very grateful
for the care and kindness that they receive from us.
DOCTOR: It is hard to imagine the appreciation that my patients show
me. They – many don`t understand. But a lot do understand the sacrifices
that we in this clinic, not just me, but the rest of the staff of this
clinic make, personal sacrifices to provide for their care.
And that – that makes me feel really good about my practice. It
makes me feel good about what I`m doing.
KROMENAKER: You don`t work in a place like Fargo, North Dakota if you
are not committed to providing that service and if it doesn`t give you
rewards back. And the stories I hear from women, the information they give
us, the stories they tell us, the emotions they display, that is what keeps
me coming day after day is to be able to help those women through a really
difficult time in their life.
And there is a lot of satisfaction with that, because they`re so
thankful and I think that we change them in that moment. We make the world
a better place for them by treating them with respect, by treating them
kindly and giving them an experience that we hope will kind of set the tone
for the next phase of their life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Roe versus Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made
abortion legal is 40 years old next week. The single remaining providers
in Mississippi and North Dakota and South Dakota and Arkansas are the only
reason that is accessible to women in those four states. And to keep that
right protected, those single remaining providers have to be able to stick
it out even when it is not easy, even in the face of protest and
intimidation and the fear of violence and persecution even by their own
state governments. But that is what they have committed to do.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: OK. I`m ready to plan your weekend. Here`s what your
weekend looks like. You may want to get a pen and paper. I can hold on
for a second, OK? Get a pen.
OK. Ready? Here`s how it goes.
The great Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry and Alex Witt are all
going to be broadcasting their shows live from Washington this weekend.
So, that starts tomorrow Saturday, at 8:00 a.m. Eastern.
On Sunday morning at 8:00, it`s going to be Chris Hayes who will be
covering Vice President Joe Biden`s private swearing in for his second
term. That will be conducted by the Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor.
Then at 11:55 a.m. – excuse me, Sunday morning, and 11:55 a.m., just
before noon on Sunday, President Obama will be sworn in privately in the
Blue Room of the White House by Chief Justice John Roberts, that will be
NBC`s Chuck Todd before noon on Sunday.
But that is just the beginning, MSNBC`s live coverage will continue
Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern. We`re going to have coverage Sunday of a
candle light reception at the National Building Museum in D.C., which is,
in fact, a very beautiful building, as you can see from this shot. It`s a
candle light reception that is very, very fancy. The president and vice
president are expected to attend that reception, along with the first lady,
and Dr. Jill Biden, that`s Sunday night.
And Monday, blowout! Monday is even fancier. Monday is the big day.
Monday is the big public ceremony of the inauguration and all of the
“MORNING JOE” is going to be live from D.C. starting at 6:00.
President Obama is going to attending church service that morning at 8:45
a.m. at St. John`s Church. After church, President Obama is scheduled to
have coffee with the leadership of Congress. That is a closed press, but
oh to be a fly in the wall.
In terms of how you can follow along with what is happening on the big
day on Monday, I`m going to be anchoring our coverage here on MSNBC
starting at 10:00 a.m., joined, of course, by the great Chris Matthews. We
will be with the Reverend Al Sharpton, and Ed Schultz. Our coverage starts
at 10:00 a.m. Monday morning.
At 11:45 a.m., Vice President Biden will be ceremonially sworn in by
Justice Sotomayor. At 11:55, President Obama will be ceremonially sworn in
by Chief Justice John Roberts.
And then that, of course, is going to be followed by the kahuna – the
president delivering his second inaugural address. There will be the
singing of the national anthem, by a person named Beyonce who you might
have heard of. There will be the benediction, there will the signing
ceremony, there will be, of course, the parade.
There is a lot going on. It is a big day. We`re going to be covering
all of it starting at 10:00 eastern on Monday. And then Monday night, I
will be here for something we call THE RACHEL MADDOW show at 9:00 Eastern.
It is a big weekend, and a big Monday. You need to take your vitamins
and get a good night sleep.
That does it for us tonight. It`s going to be a very few, good few
days. I will see you again Monday morning at 10:00 a.m.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD.”
Have a great weekend.
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