Fox News host Bill O’Reilly claimed on his show Wednesday that abortion regulations are so lax in Texas that some women get abortions because they’ve sprained a hand.
“You can just kill the baby, or the fetus, however you want to describe it, any time you want for any reason,” O’Reilly said, describing the current abortion laws in Texas and several other states. “You know, women’s health, that’s any reason at all.”
He was speaking to blogger Kate Obenshain and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers about an anti-abortion bill Texas Republicans are on the brink of passing that would limit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in spite of Supreme Court precedent that prevents the states from restricting abortion before a fetus becomes viable outside the womb, usually around 24-26 weeks. Current Texas law bans abortions after 28 weeks.
Powers did not seem disturbed at O’Reilly’s flippant treatment of the subject, saying she feels abortion should be banned after 12 weeks of pregnancy. “After that, we’re dealing with something that I think pretty much everybody can agree is a human being,” she said.
O’Reilly added that European nations, some of which have much earlier bans on abortion, “are the most liberal countries in the world,” finding it troubling that U.S. states would seemingly be bound by Supreme Court precedent and not European law.
“In New York here, there’s a proposal, ‘I don’t want any limitations on anything!’” he said. “It’s crazy.”
Powers shot back: “The current status quo in Texas that these people are fighting for, who are fighting the bill, is to be able to abort your baby up until the third trimester.”
“Yeah!” O’Reilly jabbed. “For any reason! Women’s health! ‘Hey! Look I sprained my hand!’”
“Yeah,” Powers said. “For any reason. For any reason. Yeah.”
Neither mentioned that the vast majority of abortions already take place well before the 20th week of pregnancy, and in cases where it’s happening as late as the third trimester, it’s usually because of a severe fetal abnormality or threat to the mother’s life, and not a sprained hand as Mr. O’Reilly put it.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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