March 21, 2014 — In this week's video highlights, MSNBC presents a documentary on the abortion "abolitionist" movement, the "Daily Show" questions why Medicare spends so much on penis pumps and "HuffPost Live" looks at Michigan's so-called "rape insurance" law.
In a special report, MSNBC's Irin Carmon discusses the new documentary "The Abolitionist," which chronicles a family of "abortion abolitionists" in Oklahoma who believe abortion is the "number one evil in the world" and has dedicated their lives to its eradication, often visiting high schools and abortion clinics in the state daily to spread their message. The family likens its mission to that of abolitionists working to end slavery. However, Carmon asks, "Who is the slave owner on the abortion side?" She argues that the family's movement "vilifies the individual choices" of women, "just as slavery took away [women's] sexual and reproductive autonomy" (Carmon/Reid, "The Reid Report," MSNBC, 3/17).
In a mock interview, "Daily Show" correspondent Samantha Bee asks NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue about the "double standard" for women's and men's sexual health care. Hogue notes that Medicare has spent about $172 million over the past five years on penis pumps for male beneficiaries, which Bee points out "has never been debated once," yet women's access to contraception is a constant point of contention in politics. Bee adds sarcastically, "Women's selfish desire for sexual health and gynecological exams pales in comparison to men's need to deal with erectile dysfunction" (Bee, "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," Comedy Central, 3/12).
"HuffPost Live" commentator Marc Lamont Hill speaks with Huffington Post national reporter Jen Bendery about a Michigan law that took effect last week and bars most health plans in the state from covering abortion care. Hill notes that just 4% of abortions in 2012 in Michigan were paid for by insurers, asking, "What's the reason [lawmakers] needed to push this through anyway?" Bendery calls the measure just "one more notch in the belt for conservatives who are pushing this theme" of limiting women's access to reproductive health care (Hill, "HuffPost Live," Huffington Post, 3/14).