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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 10/12/21

Guests: Dana Nessel, Vin Gupta, Bhavik Kumar


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is interviewed. Texas women struggle in seeking abortion care.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Andy Slavitt, thank you for your time. That is ALL IN for tonight.


Good evening, Rachael.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.

And thanks at home for joining us this hour. Happy to you have here.

Last summer, Summer of 2020, Hood County, Texas, hired a new elections administrator. Hood County, Texas, is southwest of F. Worth. Population of 60,000 people.

And the new elections administer they hired was a pro, the real deal. She had impeccable credentials. She was a 14-year veteran of elections administration at the county level. She had spent the last five years running elections in a different Texas county. In that different Texas county, she had been universally praised by that county`s leaders.

I mean, by all accounts, Hood County made a really good choice when they picked somebody to come in and be the sort of technocrat who would administer the elections. And, in fact, when it came time for the presidential election in November of last year, November 2020, things went off absolutely without a hitch in Hood County.

Now, I should mention that Hood County is really, really conservative. It is really Republican. To prove my point, these were the results in Hood County from the November election. Trump won 81 percent the vote there. He beat Joe Biden by 64 points.

I mean, keep in mind, over the entire state of Texas, Donald Trump`s margin of victory was six points. In Hood County, it was 64 points. Absolute landslide by any measure.

And so, if you were a Trump supporter who fervently believes what Trump says, which is that the 2020 election was stolen from it him, you may be mad about that and direct ire about that. You know, somewhere the results don`t seem right you to, right? I place you expected Trump to win. But Biden won instead.

You might expect that Hood County, Texas, where Trump won by a 64 point margin, you might expect Hood County and the noncontroversial experience professional nonpartisan election administrator, you might expect that and her to be unlikely targets for the rage of Trump supporting Republicans angry about the election results.

But here we are. "The Texas Tribune" has been reporting now on a month`s long effort by far right Trump supporting election conspiracy theorists in the Hood County, Texas, to get that county election administrator fired. They have not only attacked her, they attacked any elected leader in the county that supports her.

The local Republican Party in Hood County actually put down in writing and passed a resolution threatening necessity would run a negative social media campaign against the top official if he didn`t hold the hearing on firing her.

And then the election administrator, Ms. Michele Carew was her name, she was forced to sit through a public county meeting, where local officials and residents railed against her and demanded she must be fired.

And remember, these are basically all Republicans that we`re talking about here. The county that hired Michele Carew is run by Republicans. The county that employed her for several years prior is equally Republican.

The Republican Party chair of that county where she used to run elections told "The Texas Tribune," I can`t imagine anyone not giving her anything but A-plus as a grade. She`s that good. People have to realize her credentials are impeccable. She knows what she is doing.

So this experienced election administrator, not a single blemish on the record, highly respected by Republican Party officials in Texas, she runs an election in Hood County, Texas in, which Donald Trump wins by 64 points. What`s the problem?

This is from "The Texas Tribune" today. Quote: Far right conservatives who preach allegiance to Trump are demanding that her duties be placed under elected county clerk indicate clerk Katie Lang, who has espoused Trump`s stolen election theory. Lang frequently shares "Stop the Steal" and "Impeach Biden" memes and videos, including those produced by popular local far right Facebook and YouTube show that has claimed presidential election was stolen. It is also called for Michele Carew`s ouster. That show`s founder is Mike Lang, Ms. Lang`s husband.


The attacks have confounded Michel Carew, whose job is nonpartisan but who has voted Republican primaries for the past 11 years, according to public records. Carew told "The Texas Tribune," quote, I felt alone to tell you the truth. The worst part is being dragged through the mud where they don`t know what they`re talking about. I don`t feel like I`m the same person I was a year ago. This county has ruined me.

So, now, Michele Carew has handed in her resignation. And she will no longer be the elections administrator of Hood County, Texas.

She tells "The Texas Tribune" today, quote, when I started out, election administrators were appreciated, highly respected. Now we`re made out to be the bad guys.

You know, one thing we hear from a lot of the folks at the state level who are pushing for the bizarre, you know, Trumpy investigations or fake audits of the 2020 results are pushing for changes to voting laws because there is something so wrong with the 2020 voting, a lot of the time they`ll say this isn`t about overturning the 2020 election. It absolutely is about overturning the 2020 election, but in a more sort of present danger. It`s about them trying to gain control over the administration of the next election, taking the administration of elections out of the hands of nonpartisan technical professionals and putting it in the hands of people who say the last election was stolen, and who say that they`re going to make sure the right person the next time. I mean, that`s happening eastbound in the reddest counties in Texas that have the reddest election results can you possibly imagine.

And then look at what is happening in Michigan right now. This say remarkable new story from "The Dallas News -- excuse me, from "The Detroit News". Quote: Republican Party leaders across the battleground state of Michigan quietly worked in recent weeks to replace incumbent county election officials with newcomers, some of whom have sought to undermine the public space of the 2020 vote. The trend focuses on four-member county canvassing boards, bipartisan panels in charge of verifying records and certifying results.

Do you remember a couple weeks after the 2020 election? There was a brief, crazy moment in Wayne County, Michigan. That`s the largest county in the state, that`s where Detroit is, and these are bipartisan boards, board of canvassers. The two Republicans on the Wayne County Board of Canvassers actually initially voted against certifying the results of the presidential election in Wayne County. Because there must have been all this fraud in Detroit, right?

The Board of Canvassers deadlocked with the Republican saying they wouldn`t certify. So, that meant Wayne County couldn`t certify the results. President Trump even personally called the two Republican members of that county board that night. And that was going to be this big very consequential win for Trump`s efforts to overturn the election, to get Republican officials to block the certification of the vote.

Well, the way that resolved is those Republican officials in Wayne County, Michigan, ended up changing their mind, reversing their votes. And they did allow the certification of Biden`s win to go ahead.

Well, what is happening in Michigan right now, quietly under the radar, is that Republicans have decided they`re not going to make that mistake again. One of the members who briefly blocked the certification of Biden`s win in November, she wanted to continue on that board but local Republican leaders will not renominate her through. Shi said it is because she voted to certify the election.

One people that they nominated to replace her on the board of canvassers appears one of the, quote/unquote, witnesses Rudy Giuliani dug up to support his fake claims of election fraud during his particularly crazy pants appearances before the Michigan legislatures last December. One of the Giuliani witnesses is going to replace the woman who actually initially voted not to certify and then voted to certify.

For the board of canvassers in Michigan`s third largest county, Republicans nominated a woman that said last year that President Trump should not only suspend meetings of the Electoral College, what does that even mean? She said that Trump should have military tribunals investigate claims about election fraud. Local Republicans are now putting her up for the board of canvassers in the third largest county of Michigan.

"The Detroit News" asked this woman if she believes the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. She responded, "I do not not believe it."

In another Michigan county, Republicans nominated the wife of a conservative radio commentator who recently moderated an event with the My Pillow about how the Supreme Court is about to put Trump back in office.


Here`s that radio host today at a rally on the steps of Michigan state capitol.


"TRUCKER" RANDY BISHOP, RADIO COMMENTATOR: Here`s the truth. You need to get ahold of your state rep and your state senator, and tell them if they don`t do an audit, you will not put up signs. You will not knock on doors. You will not give them money. And you sure as hell won`t vote for them next year!

If the fix is in, if the fix is in, the Democrats are going to win anyway, right? They won`t get rid of these machines. Then guess what? Give the power to the Democrats. Let them run it in the ground and we`re kick they`re butts in `24.


MADDOW: He`s a local public intellectual in Michigan. His wife has just been nominated by their local Republican Party to become Republican member of the county board of canvassers which means she`ll be in charge of deciding whether election results are certificate feud in that county or not. The gentleman was speaking at a pro-Trump rally at the Michigan state capitol today.

Count Michigan. Count Michigan. Demand a transparent forensic audit.

And when you heard that gentlemen say there is that the new Republican platform should be based around this. Pt which is basically true, right? This is what the Republican -- the Republican county or statewide elected officials of your choice is likely running on.

If you want to get votes from the Trump supporting base of the Republican Party, you have to support there being these investigations of the last election. You have to do one of the fake audits. You have to commit to the idea that the 2020 election was stolen and you`ll stop the next election from being stolen, because otherwise, why vote, right?

If the machines are all hacked by Democrats and, you know, dead communist dictators, what`s the point? We`ll all stay home unless you Republican candidate commit -- commit to the fantasy that Trump somehow secretly won the last election and it`s all by big cover-up.

Meanwhile, Republicans across Michigan really are very quietly stacking you local elections with people committed to that cause. Who will make sure things will go the way they`re supposed to the next time.

And it`s no the just the local levels, the state level too. The first speaker at today`s rally was the Trump endorsed Republican candidate for secretary of state who will become the state`s top elections official. She spoke at that event today.

Here by the way is how today`s rally ended with this prayer.


TRUMP-ENDORSED GOP CANDIDATEFOR MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: God, that this election integrity, everything, Lord, God, will be turned around in Jesus` name and for your glory. Amen. God bless you. Go with God. Michigan shall be saved! The election shall be rectified in Jesus` name.


MADDOW: Michigan shall be saved. The election shall be rectified as rallygoers flew upside down American flags and the skull flag from the 3 Percenter militia, we are everywhere.

Perhaps the one disappointment from today`s rallygoers in Michigan was that there was no appearance from Donald Trump himself. At one point during the event, there was this expectation he was supposed to be calling n he didn`t. I guess he canceled. He certainly promoted the event.

A few days ago, big Michigan rally coming up on October 12th on the capitol steps in Lansing, where patriots will demand a forensic audit of the 2020 presidential election scam. The voter fraud is beyond what anyone an believe. Anyone that cares about our country should attend, because unless we look to the past and fix what happened we won`t have a future or a country. Let`s go, Michigan. Don`t let us down.

Just in case you thought Donald Trump might be shying away from encouraging his supporters to rally at capitol buildings, because otherwise we won`t have a country anymore, in case you thought he might think better of messages with this, after what happened with the January 6th rally. Everybody needs to come to D.C., it will be wild. Not shying away from it now, right? Why would he shy away from anything now?

Even as the election conspiracy stuff threads further and further, gets stronger and stronger, even as his supporters get to work on taking over the elections infrastructure in key states, even as he calls the supporters to rally on the steps of state capitols, his support from the mainstream and Republican Party in all of this is only growing and becoming more homogenous.

And he held this rally in Iowa this weekend, rolling out his greatest hits about election fraud and forensic audits and election being stolen from him, just as nuts as ever. Only now it`s not just the My Pillow guy and Rudy Giuliani with the hair dye running down his face and Ms. Kraken with him.


Now it`s the governor of Iowa and Republican senator Chuck Grassley the longest serving sitting Republican senator all sitting there right with him nod ago long with all of it, going along with all of it.

And then the next morning on the sober Sunday shows, there is Steve Scalise, the number two Republican in the House of Representatives earnestly talking about the theory about the voting rules were rigged and bud en`s favor in states like Pennsylvania and so therefore Biden`s win was somehow not right. That was this weekend.

In Pennsylvania this weekend, in Pennsylvania, Trump adviser Steve Bannon spoke at a gun cult event about how Pennsylvania must have a full forensic audit and new canvas of the 2020 vote. And when I say this was a sort of cult event, I`m not being flip about. That literally this is the event by the Mooneys, the son of the Mooneys who is the guy that proclaimed himself the messiah. The son of the now dead Mooney leader does not say that he technically is the messiah, but he and his brother now run a gun factory and church in Pennsylvania where the people who worship in the church are expected to hold their AR-15s while they worship and does he wear a crown of bullets.

You see what he is wearing on his head? It`s a crown of bullets. And, yes, he was part of the January 6th attack on the Capitol. That`s where Steve Bannon spoke this weekend at his vent talking about how Pennsylvania needs a full forensic audit now, too.

It is a slippery slope that we are sliding down right now. I mean, just listen to the Trump endorsed candidate from Michigan attorney general today riling up the crowd against the current attorney general in the state of Michigan, Dana Nessel, as the crowd demands, lock her up. Lock her up.


MATTHEW DEPERNO (R), CANDIDATE FOR MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: I`ve been threatened by Dana Nessel. She thinks people that support election integrity should be criminally prosecuted. I have been told, in fact, demanded by our elected officials to stop talking about this issue. I have been told to stop talking about America first values. I stood up to try to vindicate President Trump.

Dana Nessel doesn`t value your rights. We need an army to fight.


MADDOW: We need an army to fight. We need an army to fight. Dana Nessel doesn`t value your rights. Lock her up, lock her up.

Joining us now is Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Madam Attorney General, I imagine this is a weird day for you at work and otherwise. Thank you for being here tonight. I really appreciate you making the time.


MADDOW: So this is a Trump endorsed candidate who wants to be the next secretary of state of -- excuse me, wants to be the next attorney general of Michigan, leading this rally and chants about you today. Lock her up. Lock her up. Saying they need an army against you.

I just have to ask you, hearing that, knowing that happened today at the state capitol, I`d just like to get your response.

NESSEL: Honestly, it`s terrifying. And it`s hard to believe this is the democracy that we know and love in this country and how quickly it`s deteriorating. And knowing that -- I believe Mr. Deperno when he talks about prosecuting me in the event that he successful and he defeats me in 2022. I believe him when he says he will produce me and prosecute people like me.

I think he`ll prosecute our governor and our secretary of state and anyone else who he believes in any way shape or form has not supported Donald Trump. And that`s exactly why Donald Trump supports him for the position of Michigan attorney general knowing how crucial that position is as a swing state AG and the role that swing state AGs play in presidential elections in upholding the rule of law and ensuring the person that actually received the most votes gets our electoral votes.

MADDOW: It feels like over and over again Michigan has been sort of -- unfortunate metaphor, the tip of the proverbial spear in terms of violence, and the bleed over in right-wing politics and mainstream Republican politics. I have to ask if with, you know, the kidnapping plot against Governor Whitmer, with the violent and threatening protests outside people`s homes, with right-wingers bringing assault rifles into the state capitol last year, with the kind of thing that we saw today at the -- with the 3 percent militia flags and the, you know, threatening to lock you up and the threats of violence at this event today.


Is the entire Republican Party radicalizing in this direction? Or do you think that this is turning off some people who are otherwise sort of common sense Republican voters who may feel like they don`t have a home in Michigan politics? They may not identify as a Democrat but things are getting weird enough in Michigan Republican politics that it`s isolating some people who might have previously been their supporters?

NESSEL: Well, I think certainly there are a lot of voters that are turned off. But if you look at highly populated areas like Oakland County or Kemp County, I think a lot of the voters there that traditionally voted Republican, they definitely are turned off by this. Unfortunately, the members of the party and those who run for positions of elected leadership in the party are totally beholden to Trump.

And so, if that means coalescing behind this very violent message, of demagoguery, then that`s what they`re going to do. And what we`ve seen is what we`ve seen all over the nation is that more moderate members of the party seem to drop off because they know that they have no hope of becoming the nominee for whatever position it is. And you end up with these extremists.

And I`m just going to say those who talk about fascism or autocracy, those are the people that are willing to undermine democracy and don`t care if we have minority rule in our state or the country. Those are the ones that end up as the nominees for the Republican Party and there is literally no room for anyone else at this point.

MADDOW: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, as I said, I know this day is probably been a trip for you, unpleasant one. Thank you for helping us understand and keep us updated tonight. It`s nice to you have here.

NESSEL: Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.



MADDOW: There is something that human beings have been working on for more than 100 years without success. And as a matter when you spend more than 100 years trying to do something and it doesn`t work, it won`t work, it won`t work that, is a determined signal from the universe that it won`t work, no matter what you do.

But in this case, nobody ever wanted to give up because the thing they were trying to do for more than a century, the problem they were trying to fix for more than a century is a terrible problem it was worth keeping at it year after year, generation after generation just in case something might work some day.

Malaria is a disease you get from mosquitoes. It is a parasite that mosquitoes carry in some parts of the world. And when mosquito bites you, it gets into your blood.

And malaria kills a half million people every year. It has been killing people in huge numbers for generations and generations, particularly the kids. The vast majority of people that die from malaria is kids, two-thirds of all deaths from malaria every year now are kids under the age of 5.

And so scientists have literally been trying for 100 years to develop a vaccine to protect people from malaria without success. And you would only keep trying something for more than a century without success, it was so important to do it, if it was so potentially transformative that it was still worth it. You had to keep going and trying.

Well, now, more than 100 years down the road, all that work is finally paying off. The world`s first ever vaccine against malaria. It`s actually the world`s first vaccine against a parasitic disease of any kind. They thought it was impossible to create a vaccine against a parasite but they had done it for the first time ever.

It is made by GlaxoSmithKline. It`s not perfect. It is moderately effective. It`s not 100 percent effective. You have to get multiple doses which is it a pain.

But it is the first vaccine we have ever had. It is effective enough that they think it will save the lives of at least tens of thousands of children every year, as soon as it`s put into place. The World Health Organization just approved it days ago. The pilot programs that tested in Ghana, in Malawi and Kenya are seen as really big successes. They`re going to focus on those.

Thanks to researchers and scientists and drug development, human kind will start to throw our first ever punches that is killing kids by hundreds of thousands for all the years that manufacture us have been on earth, which is something.

And, and, this is something that`s further off, but also good, you know the kind of vaccine that Pfizer and Moderna have made against COVID, the same mRNA technology they used to be able to make those so quickly? Well next month starting clinical trials for a new candidate for HIV vaccine. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and it`s made with that same mRNA technology.

It`s a Moderna vaccine candidate against HIV. It is going to take a long time to know if it is the one. It is promising and again, trials start in that next month.

And also just this week, Merck is asking the FDA to consider giving emergency use authorization to an antiviral pill to use as a COVID-19 treatment. Now as you know, there is no cure for COVID-19. I know what you heard on Facebook might tell you differently.

There is no cure for COVID. Bizarrely the right-wing in this country has promoted a series of things that really don`t even help treat COVID as if there are cures.


All this means is that the discussion around COVID treatment gets filled up with a bunch of nonsense very quickly, but if you strip away the nonsense, what actually is in the arsenal for treating COVID is basically the monoclonal antibody drugs, which do work quite well to keep people out of the hospital to keep people from dying if you can get the drugs to people soon after they`re infected before they`re sick enough they have to be hospitalized. We talked about the monoclonal antibodies on the show a lot.

As you know, the monoclonal antibodies do have a big down side. They have to be taken as an infusion or a series of injections. That means they`re hard to administer even though they`re effective.

This new drug, this new pill from Merck, if the FDA approves it, it`s a pill. And it would mean that people with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms could literally take the pill for the same kind of benefit that we`re seeing from the monoclonal antibodies, or at least hopefully the same level of benefit.

What was tested in clinical trials was a five-day course taking several pills a day and it cut the risk of hospitalization and death by 50 percent, among people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of proceeding to very dangerous COVID.

A pill to take for COVID-19, a vaccine against malaria and maybe against HIV. This is a big week.

For all the other things going wrong in our world right now, scientists and medical researchers are slaying dragon after dragon right now. And we are heading this week into what is about to be a whirlwind of decisions and announcements from the FDA and CDC on yet further developments, Pfizer is expecting approval of its COVID vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. The White House put out advice to governors to get ready in all the states to rollout vaccines for kids age 5 to 11, elementary school age kids.

On Thursday and Friday, this week, the FDA advisory board is going to give data and decisions on booster shots for people who got the Moderna, COVID vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They`re also interestingly going to hear data on what happens if it people mix and match two different brands of vaccines for their boosters. That`s all going to happen at the FDA advisory panel this week.

All this is going to come soon. And yes, the people that say science is scary and curing things is an evil liberal plot, these folks will continue to be weary about all of it, absolutely. But focus on that a lot. And I think there is not the reaction of the always loom too large. If you don`t let that rump weirdness occlude your vision of what`s going on here, we`re having a great moment for science, for researchers putting their work to practical effect saving human lives in ways we never thought would is possible.

Yes, we have to figure out how to get access to these things. We have to figure out manufacturing and pricing and fairness and, yes, we need to deal with the crazy conspiracy theories and COVID-19 denialists and all rest of it. But science right now, scientific right now is winning some of the hardest battles that scientists have ever been tried to fight and we`re the beneficiaries of it and that is worth -- that`s more than a silver lining. That is worth spending some time with.

Joining us now is Dr. Vin Gupta, critical care pulmonologist, affiliate assistant professor for the Institute for the Health, Metrics and Elevation. It`s part of the University of Washington.

Dr. Gupta, it`s great to see you. Thanks for taking the time be here tonight.

DR. VIN GUPTA, CRITICAL CARE PULMONOLOGIST: Good to see you, Rachel. Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: So I talked about a whole bunch of different things there. First, I want to ask you what you think about the promise of this new antiviral pill against COVID. Doctors don`t have all that many pharmaceutical treatment options for effectively treating COVID, for keeping people out of the hospital, keeping people from dying from it. Are you encouraged about the data you see so far on that antiviral pill?

GUPTA: So we are learning more, Rachel, about this spill. I would say for all your fevers, think of this as Tamiflu, which is something that we prescribed for flu. If you get diagnosed early were flu sometimes if you are high risk progression, sometimes mild symptoms of the flu, where you are going to hand up in the hospital, we give you Tamiflu in the first 40 hours after diagnosis. Something really similar with this pill, Rachel, for COVID-19. If we diagnosed too early an early diagnosis mile tomorrow symptoms, we can give you a five-day course of this pill, maybe will keep you out of the hospital. It`s a 50 percent reduction and likely hospitalization.

And we say this is a medium to longer term solution great for global health, it`s easily scalable. You can get it to places where vaccines are hard to deliver. But if you are unvaccinated individual washing this right now, we are used to dealing with vaccines that have 90 percent effectiveness at keeping you out of the hospital.


This is 50 percent. So please don`t do this as a great insurance policy, get vaccinated.

MADDOW: In terms of vaccinations, if the Pfizer vaccine is approved for kids ages 5 to 11, we saw the advice go out from the White House today telling governors around the country to get ready, we are going to have to be ready to roll out vaccines for elementary school ages 5 to 11, which is a different kind of rollout that any vaccine effort that we have seen thus far.

How do you think that might change the dynamic of the virus? How do you think that might change the dynamic of that natural epidemic heading into the winter if kids can be vaccinated over each five?

GUPTA: Well, Rachel, what we know is that they`re still not a lot of kids tending up in pediatric hospitals, pediatric ICUs, due to severe COVID-19, which is a relief. In some cases, we`re seeing 4 percent of hospitalizations in places like Idaho represented by pediatric cases. But that is the rare exception.

So that is a great thing. It is going to help reduce the amount of transmission of COVID, the virus that causes COVID in our community. We know that toddlers, young children, can transmit this virus as easily as older adolescents. So this will ultimately be a good thing.

But I will caution here that we`re still plateauing at daily deaths of 1000, 200 daily a day. As we go into flu and colds season. So we need to remain vigilant.

MADDOW: Dr. Gupta, I`d also like to ask you the last time that we spoke, you were deploying -- as part of your service with the Air Force Reserves, working as an ICU doctor for the critical care transporting for a response around COVID, you were just starting that work. You are doing your training effort. I just want to ask you, how that went if you could tell us at all with that deployment is like?

GUPTA: Absolutely. I would say that we were actually stationed in southern Ohio, Cincinnati. But we were actually moving patients that needed ECMO. Other advanced therapies in the ICU, Rachel, from places like Tennessee, all the way to the Cleveland Clinic. It wasn`t a heroic effort that we do for a living. I was just a point there for a matter of a few weeks and then somebody spared me.

But this is what`s happening in the progressive militarization of our COVID response. We are using military assets as we talked about, Rachel, to actually fill short gaps, because the biggest limiting step right now is not the availability of ventilators or beds. It`s on stuff beds. It`s the availability, so we can see a lot more of this critically whole patients from point A to point B.

Hopefully, this is -- we don`t see a lot more of it, but I expect we will in the coming months.

MADDOW: Right, as an important thing that we don`t see as visibly, we see those military teams and those federal response teams turning up in rural hospitals around the country. That the other part of it is that there`s military transport assets., developed a force in the combat context of being used now for American civilians needing to be moved to care within our country.

Dr. Gupta, I really appreciate you being here as always, thank you for your service, thank you for your time.

GUPTA: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.


MADDOW: This batch is from the federal appeals court in Texas today. Quote: an abortion provider in Houston cried with her first patient after Texas`s abortion ban passed. The patient had detectable embryonic cardiac activity on the day of her scheduled procedure after having none the day before. She was unable to get an abortion.

Provider in Houston recalls a patient with five children, two of them have disabilities, who had embryonic cardiac activity at just five weeks, four days pregnant. The patient frantically pleaded, what am I going to do? What is going to happen now?

One provider had a patient say put oil in her vagina to try to terminate her pregnancy and worries the abortion ban will force more people into, quote, back alleyways.

One provider in Houston spoke of a 12-year-old patient who came in with her mother, a single working mother with other children. The mother said they could not travel out of state, they have barely made it to the texas health center. The 12-year-old said, mom it was an accident, why are they making me keep it. She is 12.

One patient suffers from a chronic disease, from which he is unable to get medication for eight months. She fears the stress of the pregnancy would probably kill me. Just to relieve an out of state abortion was worried that because of the law, quote, they`d be waiting to drag me off to jail, when I got.

I had the woman not be able to get an abortion, she would be quote, looking online to see if there`s something I could eat, to terminate the pregnancy, or to throw myself down the stairs.

Last night, a handful of Planned Parenthood in Texas and surrounding states as file this brief with the Fifth Circuit U.S. court, that is currently considering to allow Texas`s abortion ban to stay in effect while the U.S. Justice Department continues to challenge it in court.

Joining us now is Dr. Bhavik Kumar. He provides abortion care at Planned Parenthood Center for Choice in Houston, Texas. Doctor Kumar has witnessed stories like this firsthand over the last six weeks, as this ban has been on and off in effect.

Dr. Kumar, I really appreciate you taking the time to be here tonight. Thank you.


MADDOW: So this is a 17-page brief that was filed with the federal appeals court in this case. It is harrowing. I just have to ask if any of this resonates. If any of this tracked with your experience providing abortion in Texas and what it is been like since the ban has allowed to go into place last month?

KUMAR: Yes, but I would say, Rachel, these are stories that we hear every day. I have been providing abortion care in Texas for about six and a half years now. And these stories are perhaps surprising to a lot of people. But there are stories that we hear every single day.


Each person that we take care of has their own story whether they are already mothers, whether they`re teenagers, whether they`re struggled to get to the clinic, whether they are having financial difficulties, paying for the care that they. Need they all have their individual stories.

And it is really the stories that drive us to do the work. I can speak for myself and say, it`s the stories that drive me to continue doing the work when things are very difficult. Certainly, over the last 42 days since the law has been in effect, since September 1st, it has been very difficult because while we have the capabilities, while we have the physicians, the means to provide the care for people, we are being denied the ability to care for people.

We are looking them in the face, we hear their stories, we hear their pleas, and we have to say no. We have to say you have to go out of state. Oftentimes folks will tell us, it`s just not possible. They can`t make it out of state.

It was very difficult for them to get time up to make it to the clinic that they. Let alone travel in a global pandemic to another state, where they don`t know anyone, where they don`t know the health center, where they may not have support to get their, whether it`s financially, or another person to drive them there. It can be very, very difficult for them.

So, it is taking a toll on all of us who provide this care for people, and also for the people who need access to this care.

MADDOW: I think that in the abstract thinking about Roe v. Wade being tripped away, and being negated the way this tech suspend has done. I think that in the abstract of what is genuinely thought is that I`ve been chilly if enough states started to ban abortion or effectively make it impossible to get, that women would start to turn to illegal and very dangerous means of what we used to call back alley abortions, serve coat hanger horror stories that we know from the pre-Roe era.

But I think the idea is that that would happen eventually. And once it was many states that had these kind of bands in effect. The thing that I feel sort of put my heart in my throat today, reading this briefs, was to hear the direct quotes from so many patients saying immediately that they are already trying or looking for, or expecting to try ways, home remedies things they have heard about on the Internet things we`ve heard from friends might be a way to terminate their pregnancy, including a woman talking about throwing themselves down the stairs. They`re already talking about going to those remedies.

KUMAR: Yes, absolutely. What I would say, is Roe is the floor. In a state like, Texas with so many states in the south, we have so many abortion restrictions, that we are already navigating, access is already difficult. The stories you are hearing is not only in light of SB8. I think they`re coming to the surface. There`s certainly more jarring in this moment.

But these are things that I`ve heard from people even before SB8. This access to abortion is already difficult. People have already sought to find things on the Internet, take pills, medications, herbs, try to put things inside their vagina, physical abuse whether it`s doing themselves or a partner, there`s already desperation in accessing abortion throughout the south.

What we`re seeing with Senate bill eight, is it`s being amplified, it`s being concentrated, there`s a lot more attention on these stories, which is certainly warranted, but this is not new. Access to abortion is already been under threat, these things are happening not only in Texas, but in so many others, states and that`s exactly, why providers like me provide abortion, care because we want people to access care in a safe way. We want them to have the care they need, when they need, it and we want them to have the ability to end their pregnancies safely. That`s with this is all about.

MADDOW: One of the things that has been unusual here, and it`s because of the way Texas wrote this law to try to evade judicial scrutiny is we`ve had a lot turn off and back. On potentially we can have that happen again before this is ultimately are resolved.

Has that been -- I mean, obviously, you want the ban to not be in effect, even with all the difficulties that were there pre-SB8. By having this whether the law is in effect or whether there might be retroactive civil law suits brought against people who help people get abortions or provided abortions to people while the law was under injunction, that uncertainty has to make things that much harder, for both you and your, colleagues but also for your patients.

KUMAR: Yeah, absolutely. It really feels like a rollercoaster. And of course, this is happening with this bill, but it`s also happening before. This is not the first lawsuit that`s determine how and if we can provide care, especially when it comes to abortion care in Texas. We went through something like this last spring, when the governor issued an executive order banning abortion. And we either open or closed or clinic, during that four-week period, eight times.

So, you can just imagine what it`s like to open and close a clinic, when decisions are coming down, sometimes in the middle of the day, sometimes in the evening, for example the decision from the federal court came down on Friday at 9:00 p.m.


And so what that means for us is that we are having to go into action very quickly, with very little, warning we are having to call patients to either schedule or cancel appointments. Things can be scheduled and then things can be turned over the next day. And we`re having to cancel those appointments again.

So, it`s a tremendous amount of work on us and our staff that do this work at Planned Parenthood, and it`s also very, very confusing to patients. They are desperate to get the care they need, these laws, these courts, these decisions don`t make any sense to them. They know they`re pregnant, they know that they can`t be, and they`re asking us for help.

They don`t care what the court said. They don`t care what a judge decided. They don`t care about the lawsuit. It doesn`t make sense to anybody.

You can just imagine a time we need health, here you go to a doctor, you go to a health care clinic, you go to somebody that can help you and you expect them to help you.

MADDOW: Dr. Bhavik Kumar, abortion care provider at Planned Parenthood Center for Choice in Houston, Texas -- Dr. Kumar, thank you for being here. Thank you for willing to talk about this. I know this is a fraught and difficult time. I appreciate it.

KUMAR: Thanks for having.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.


MADDOW: This was the headline that so bother the senator in "The New York Times" this weekend. The headline was, Kyrsten Sinema wants to cut $100 billion in proposed climate fun, sources say. "New York Times" reported that this was Senator Kyrsten Sinema`s latest demand, to cut down President Biden`s agenda in Congress, cut $100 billion out of the climate stuff, says senator who began her career as an environmental activist in the Green Party, who told her hometown paper last month that climate is her top priority for what she wants to get done in the Congress.

Senator Sinema`s office strenuously denied "The Times`" report. They said the senator has made no such demands. But what are her demands?

Right now, the negotiations over the bill are stuck in a holding pattern. Senator Sinema and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, are still trying to shrink it or blockade, but they won`t say what they want.

So, this was what it looks like outside the White House today. Climate protesters gathered for the second day of what they say will be five straight days of direct action, in D.C. Over 150 protesters were cited yesterday, on Indigenous People`s Day, many of the leaders are Native Americans.

The organizers of this protest call themselves the Build Back Fossil Free Coalition. They`re demanding that Democrats essentially break this holding pattern, and actually start doing something, to fight climate change.

Those two centrist senators, Sinema and Manchin, are the impediments, to what would otherwise be the largest investment to fight climate change. They keep playing coy about it is they want. But, it seems like this, it means the pressure on them that just keep mounting.

Watch this space.

MADDOW: Okay. That`s going to do it for us tonight. I will see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.