May 16, 2014 — In this week's video highlights, MSNBC's Chris Hayes features a special report on the country's first natural birthing center within an abortion clinic, while Melissa Harris-Perry writes an open letter to a judge who chided a rape survivor and gave the perpetrator a light sentence.
As part of his new series on the country's most enduring political battles, MSNBC's Chris Hayes profiles Buffalo Women Services, an abortion clinic that has also opened a natural birthing center on site. The clinic's providers hope to remove stigma surrounding both services, which are often seen as outside the mainstream of women's health care. "It's the same patient who is getting pregnant and continuing a pregnancy, and maybe next time ... terminating a pregnancy, and next time maybe having a natural birth. These are all the same people," says ob-gyn Katharine Morrison, who provides abortion care at the clinic and has collaborated with certified nurse midwife Eileen Stewart to open the birthing center. Hayes notes that Buffalo, N.Y., has a notable place in the history of the abortion-rights debate, being "one of the major flashpoints in the abortion wars of the 1990s," when antiabortion-rights activists staged extreme protests and a Buffalo abortion provider was murdered (Hayes, "All In with Chris Hayes," MSNBC, 5/7).
In her weekly open letter, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry chides Texas Judge Jeanine Howard for publicly criticizing a 14-year-old rape survivor by saying she "'wasn't the victim she claimed to be'" and giving the 20-year-old rapist a light sentence of deferred probation because he was "'not your typical sex offender.'" Harris-Perry notes that the man was, in fact, a "typical" sex offender because he had sex with a person who could not or did not consent. Howard has recused herself from the case, but the "takeaway" to other sexual assault survivors is that if women "seek justice for the violation of our bodies ... we will instead be met with skepticism and shame," Harris-Perry fears (Harris-Perry, "Melissa Harris-Perry," MSNBC, 5/10).