January 16, 2014 — In this week's video highlights, NARAL's Ilyse Hogue explains how abortion clinic "buffer zones" protect public safety, while Jon Stewart of the "Daily Show" gibes opponents of contraceptive coverage.
There have been more than 4,700 incidents of abortion clinic violence -- including murders, arsons and bombings -- since 1995, reports MSNBC's Alex Wagner in a segment on this week's Supreme Court arguments over a Massachusetts law establishing protest-free "buffer zones" around abortion clinics entrances. Joining Wagner is NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue, who says there is a "concerted effort" to inaccurately portray clinic violence as a thing of the past, when in fact NARAL receives "daily" reports of harassment and threats at clinics. The Massachusetts law fairly balances public safety, women's rights and free speech, she argues (Wagner, "Now With Alex Wagner," MSNBC, 1/15).
On PBS' "NewsHour," Hogue debates the Massachusetts law with Steven Aden of Alliance Defending Freedom, which is funding the plaintiffs' case. "[T]here is nothing that prevents any woman who wants to spend more time with the protesters ... from staying [outside the zone]. What there is, is a public safety need to enforce civil access to the reproductive health centers," Hogue says. Aden argues, "For a state to have the power to ban the kind of speech that it opposes just because it opposes it is very dangerous. It could do that to any speech" (Woodruff, "NewsHour," PBS, 1/15).
In a satirical segment on the Little Sisters of the Poor's contraceptive coverage lawsuit, "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart pokes fun at news coverage claiming the "White House is fighting nuns." He says of the nuns' objections to a form that would exempt them from offering the coverage to employees, "[Y]ou do realize every week you already give them paper issued by the government that allows them to get contraception, right? It's called money." Stewart concludes, "Just because someone works for you doesn't mean you get to control their personal lives" (Stewart, "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," 1/6).