January 22, 2015 — In today's clips, we look back at how the media covered the Supreme Court's historic Roe v. Wade decision, 42 years ago this week. Elsewhere, Jessica Williams of "The Daily Show" takes a satirical look at a seriously troubling Alabama law that authorizes judges to appoint lawyers for fetuses. We also hear from participants in the Women's March on Nashville, including footage from the march.
The Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade on Jan. 22, 1973, came the same day as the death of former President Lyndon Johnson. In this clip from the NBC News archives, see how the historic decision to strike down state laws banning abortion was reported at the time. As NBC anchor Garrick Utley begins to reports on the ruling, he is interrupted by a bulletin breaking the news on LBJ. The clip goes on to feature reporter Betty Rollin's story on Roe, including comments from Alan Guttmacher of Planned Parenthood, who says, "January 22, 1973, will stand out as one of the great days for freedom and free choice" ("Nightly News," NBC News, 1/23/12).
Jessica Williams of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" takes a look at an Alabama law (HB 494) that authorizes judges to appoint lawyers for fetuses in judicial bypass proceedings. In a satirical interview with an actual state lawyer, she asks, "You get a call from a fetus seeking legal representation, then what happens?" Meanwhile, Susan Watson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, talks to Williams about why her group has filed suit against the law and details how it is "particularly insulting to women" (Williams, "The Daily Show," Comedy Central, 1/15).
Over a slide show of video clips and images from the Women's March on Nashville, a reporter at the Knoxville News Sentinel talks to former Tennessee Rep. Gloria Johnson (D) about the rally in support of access to women's health services and opposed to proposed abortion restrictions. The march took place as the Tennessee Legislature convened for its 2015 session (Knoxville News Sentinel, 1/13). In a separate clip, Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health's Corinne Rovetti urges state lawmakers to become more educated on abortion-rights issues, saying to the rally attendees, "Abortion is safe, ... we are licensed and we are highly regulated already," adding, "We don't need ... redundant, unnecessary [and] ineffective [antiabortion-rights] laws. We are watching" (Rovetti, Healthy and Free Tennessee, 1/14).