Rachel Maddow   |  June 18, 2013

GOP brings anti-science perspectives to war on women

Adele Stan, senior Washington correspondent for RH Reality Check, talks with Rachel Maddow about the extreme and sometimes bizarre Republican perspectives on the reproductive rights of American women and they influence they're having on actual legislative policy making.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> president obama is at the g-8 summit today meeting with german chancellor angela merkel and david cameron and russian president vladimir putin . obviously there's this very sensitive issue right now about the war in syria, with us and basically all of europe taking one side in that war and russia taking the other side in that war. so that's the big overwhelming tense issue that is is happening at that summit. but there's a lot under way. all of the leaders at the g-8 today took their group photo. this is the group photo. ended up being a very dramatic photo this year under the stormy sky. but whatever weather is rolling in over those lovely northern irish foothills behind these leaders, that's not the only thing the g-8 summit has to worry about now that barack obama is there with them all in northern ireland . because now that barack obama is there with them now in northern ireland , any minute now the plague of locusts.

>> is it by coincidence that a swarm of locust from egypt have moved across the border into israel today just weeks before mr. obama's arrival in the holy land ? tens of millions of locusts have attacked egypt in recent days.

>> okay. the working theory here, in case it's hard to follow, working theory is that wherever president obama travels, the biblical plagues follow and afflict that place. okay okay? okay. that's the theory.

>> in recent months mr. obama has been photographed with flies buzzing around his head or attached to his lip or forehead. each time i see the flies buzzing around him, i think of beelzebub , lord of the flies . beelzebub claims to cause destructions through tyrants, to cause demons to be worshipped among men. to excite priests to lust. to cause jealousy in cities and murders and to bring forth war on the world. so think about it the next time you see a fly land on barack obama 's lip or forehead. i wouldn't be surprised if israel is covered with locusts when he arrives in jerusalem in three weeks. how many biblical signs do we need to see to know this man is evil?

>> hey, welcome to conservative talk radio. have you not been listening recently? this is what it's like now. this is a conservative talk radio host named rick wiles.

>> what will be the spiritual consequences of the american people allowing barack obama to spiritually sodomize the nation? bishop harry jackson jr. is on the telephone. i'm going to ask him that question. bishop jackson, welcome to the program.

>> well, rick, i'm glad to be with you. you have quite a way with words . that was an intense introduction.

>> am i being overdramatic in saying that barack obama has spiritually sodomized the nation?

>> no, wait, do not answer that. bishop jackson, what do you think? that was -- yeah. this is what this corner of conservative talk radio is like all the time now. it's not just a one-off thing where the guy occasionally says something unintentionally super over the top and out there. this is the whole shtick now.

>> what it means is he's not just a smooth-talking, jive-talking street thug that talked his way into the white house . it means that he was placed here. he was deliberately placed here as a child. he is a manufactured person, and the conclusion i've come to is that he is a foreign plant.

>> the he, of course, being the president of the united states . god bless the people for the american way who record radio shows like this so we can all enjoy them without the apocalypse survival kit equipment ads or whatever it is. a couple days ago this particular conservative talk show host the one with the flies, jive talking and sodomy talking. he had a man as his guest from south carolina , a man named jeff duncan . listen to this. the most amazing part of their discussion comes right at the very end of this clip. this isn't a long clip, but listen right at the very end here. that is the jaw dropper.

>> and while you guys are rounding up and deporting the illegal immigrants, any chance the house may actually pursue barack obama 's phony identification papers?

>> well, you know, um --

>> that's the original scandal, congressman. that's the original scandal.

>> people should have voted against him in november, and i'm afraid that wouldn't get to the supreme court where it ought to get.

>> but if we know that they're lying about all these other things, why not go back and say, well maybe the first scandal was a lie, too?

>> there you go. i'm all with you. so let's go back and revisit some of these things because americans have questions about not only the irs mess scandal, but also about the president's validity.

>> all right. i appreciate you being on the program today. my guest, south carolina congressman and chairman of the house homeland security oversight committee.

>> did he say house homeland security oversight committee? the birther guy there who just had the whole president is a secret alien discussion with that guy, with the flies and beelezbub guy? agreeing with rick wiles wholeheartedly, you know that president's birth certificate, phony, that's what we have got to be working on as a country? he's one of the guys the republican party has put in charge of homeland security oversight in our country. so the department of homeland security , which has more than 200,000 employees, the third largest department in the cabinet, it combined the work of 22 previous different organizations into a single thing. the republicans have entrusted oversight of that rather important thing for us as a nation to the birther guy sitting there talking about the president's alien status with mr. beelzbub fly monitor. congressman jeff duncan of south carolina , the republicans took a look at him and decided he needed to be put in a position to make homeland security decisions. watch out for the department of beelzebub hatching sometime this year in augustde pending on the rain. this feels like the day we all remembered, we all learned with a shock, right, that georgia congressman paul brown is actually on the science committee and he believes things like this.

>> i've come to understand that all that stuff i was talking about, evolution, embryology, big bang theory . all that is lies straight from the pit of hell.

>> on the science committee. it someone thing to purr suede 600,000 or 700,000 people in your district to elect you, it's another thing for you to be put on the science committee when you are a guy like paul brown , now congressman and would-be u.s. senate candidate. paul broun made a little bit of news in the past few days for frying to have his name removed as a co-sponsor of the house republicans ' new national abortion ban. he was an original co-sponsor of the abortion ban but asked to have his name taken off of it once an exemption was added to spare rape victims and incest victims from the ban. he was outraged for those protections for rape victims and incest victims that he ask his name be taken off the bill in disgust. interesting note, though, turns out that's actually a hard thing to do. been having a really hard time getting his name taken off the bill. he did vote against it today. that whole kerfuffle has been overshadowed today by the latest genius republican man comments on the issue of abortion. this time it came from texas congressman michael burgess .

>> we should be setting this at 15 weeks, 16 weeks. watch a sonogram at a 15-week baby and they have movements that are purposeful. they stroke their face. if they're a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. they feel pleasure. why is it so hard to think they could feel pain?

>> it is one thing to be a random texas congressman, michael burgess saying that we should set laws for everybody in the whole country based on when he thinks fetuses masturbate. male fetuses only. hey, your district likes you, you know? but this guy also is in charge of something. the house republicans took the fetal masturbation theorist and put him in charge of their subcommittee on health . because, hey, that's who they got, i guess. and honestly, with these last three or four years with the triumph of antiabortion activism as the main policy thrust of the republican party , both in federal government and in the states, i kind of felt like i had lost the capacity to be surprised. before i heard the fetal masturbation theory from congressman burgess today. i mean, we have had amazing theories.

>> life begins, that horrible situation of rape, that is something that god intended to happen.

>> if it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

>> the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.

>> now, to be fair to congressman trent franks there, the author of the republicans ' abortion ban that passed the house today, to his credit, he has tried to make clear when he said that he wasn't making the exact same argument as todd akin . he wasn't saying effectively if you are pregnant, then you must have wanted it. because rapes don't cause pregnancy. what congressman franks said he was arguing is that you may be pregnant because you were raped, but he does not care. he wants to force you into childbirth after rape, regardless. even those remarks from him as the sponsor of the bill were overshadowed today by the male fetus masturbation theorizing from congressman burgess. i mean, really, have you ever seen a headline like that? okay. thank you. this is what " u.s. news and world report " had to put up on their news website today. "comments about represent michael burgess about fetuses masturbating not based in science, doctors say." you didn't have headlines like this. now this is kind of what the politics here are like. because of the fetal masturbation theories and the rape doesn't get you pregnant chorus and how they handle the issue on the republican side , as this bill was put on the house floor for a full vote, the republicans did take one pr move of trying to shine this thing up. they found a republican woman to take the reins of the bill and try to manage its progress on the floor instead of old trent franks . congresswoman marsha blackburn of tennessee, she got handed this bill today because she's supposed to be great at talking about this issue. she's supposed to be very unalienating. here she was today explaining how the bill would work to msnbc's craig melvin.

>> the bill only allows the exception for rape when it's reported. only allows the exception for incest when it's reported. is that correct?

>> that there is a reporting requirement in the text of the bill and the hope is that that will help with getting some of these perpetrators out of the population that are committing these crimes against women and against minor females.

>> using women 's access to abortion as a way to fight crime. we can use our antiabortion bill to go after rapists. house republicans effectively forcing you to use your uterus and access to it as a means of helping the police with their investigations. that's the new idea behind the abortion ban. it will catch rapists. again, marsha blackburn is supposed to be their best at talking about this. it's not actually like that idea is too weird for what's going on in republican politics right now. remember the bill from january in new mexico in the republicans there had this bill, victims of sexual assault could be charged with a felony if they sought an abortion after rape or incest. the felony you would be charged with was, "tampering with evidence." a third degree felony. you could get a sentence of up to three years in prison for tampering with the rapist's evidence that happened to find its way into your body. the republican who introduced that in new mexico is a lawyer. it's hard to know what happens next here. it has been a whirlwind few years of republican activism in this part of policy. now today the house passed a federal abortion ban that the antiabortion side is calling the biggest deal in federal legislation in ten years. this is not the first time they acted at the federal level . this is something like the tenth time republicans in the house voted for antiabortion legislation since they've been in control in the house . they voted on the trent franks abortion ban before now, too, but never made it apply federally to the whole country like the ban they passed today would. they've never gone this far before. asked for a decision to put this on the house floor for a vote, republican house speaker john boehner was as clear about this as he possibly could be.

>> listen, jobs continues to be our number one concern.

>> jobs, jobs, jobs. joining us now is adelle stan, senior washington correspondent for rh reality check which covers rebruprotective health and justice issues. thank you for being with us.

>> thanks for having me, rachel .

>> you were first to report congressman burgess' rather extraordinary analysis of fetal behavior in that hearing room. how did you end up in that hearing room hearing that argument.

>> well, rachel , actually i wasn't even in the hearing room because i called my source on the hill and said, rules committee hearing, do i really need to be here? he said, nothing happens there. i thought, okay, i'll watch this stream. i drank a lot of coffee. and was able to stay awake through the whole thing and there it was at the very, very end. and the reason i was there, rachel , is i've been covering the progression of this bill now from a bill that once just only applied to the district of columbia . now they want to apply it to all 50 states . and they're gaming it off of the whole gosnell try and trying to conflate that situation with all of abortion.

>> obviously the republicans in the houses know that this bill they passed today in their side of capitol hill is not going to go anywhere. the president has explicitly said he will veto it. it's obviously not going to go anywhere in the senate. what they're hoping for, presumably, is for the debate about this bill, particularly by their side, to be so edifying that it will spark the kind of discussion and understanding in the country that's worth it despite the fact that this is wasted legislative time.

>> absolutely. and, you know, and the point was made consistently by democrats throughout the debate process who would ask for parliamentary points and ask to introduce, you know, to discuss, to debate things that actually matter like the student loan debacle. the rates going up momentarily. and all that kind of thing. and jobs. and so democrats were definitely at the charge making that point. but, yes, i think that their point is is that they really think that they can change public opinion . can move public opinion by making a big stink about this while the public is still, you know, revulsed by some of what we heard during the gosnell trial which, of course, has nothing to do with legal abortion. the guy's a criminal. but the deal is, they think if they can change some hearts and minds that way, that would be great. they think they condition get a lot of airtime, which they did, but they really kind of flubbed it, didn't they, with the trent franks remarks about rape and then having to, like, kick him out of managing his own bill on the floor and pulling in marsha blackburn because she was a woman. and, you know, interestingly, rachel , i got that information not from the hill but from the stage of a ralph reed event that took place last week where we were promised that there would be all these amazing republican women on the floor, marsha blackburn would marshal the bill, and that gosnell presented a moment for the anti-choice movement such as they had never seen before and people better seize the day .

>> did they believe -- when you are hearing them talk about it and strategize amongst themselves like at the faith and freedom, whatever that thing is called, the christian coalition event.

>> right.

>> i know you're not supposed to call it that anymore, but it will always be that to me.

>> kind of the --

>> exactly. is the idea that there's nothing wrong with antiabortion policies or the prioritization of antiabortion above all other forms of policymaking on the republican side , rather the problem and the reason it's alienating to women is because too many men talk while they to that? and if they just do the same thing with republican women being out in front of it, this will suddenly become a popular agenda?

>> yeah, you're absolutely right. that's what they've decided. that's the new thing. i mean, you even heard that in the reed event where not only was it said that, you know, they need to put, you know, more women front and center on this issue, but one of the panelists who was an african- american woman said, you know, the big problem is that there aren't enough african-american women in leadership on the anti-choice side because, you know, democrats are always making this big point about how this, you know, being -- if you outlaw abortion that it disproportionately harms poor and minority women . so, you know, they need to find some more african-american women to present the anti-choice argument.

>> to present the exact same agenda that they've been presenting.

>> absolutely. yeah.

>> adele stan, senior washington correspondent for rh reality check who watched the stream of that hearing and let us all know about the fetal masturbation theory as an excuse for the 20-week abortion ban.

>> thanks so much for having