“Real Time” host Bill Maher kicked off his panel discussion about the abortion debate Friday by sharing the surprising things he learned following the leaked Supreme Court majority opinion draft on Roe v. Wade.
“I learned things this week… that are pretty basic things that I did not know about abortion. Like in Europe, the modern countries of Europe are way more restrictive than we are or what they’re even proposing!” Maher exclaimed. “If you are pro-choice, you would like it a lot less in Germany, and Italy, and France, and Spain, and Switzerland. Did you know that? I didn’t know that.”
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“I learned most people who are pro-life are women. I did not know that. Most abortions are from… mothers, people who have a kid… And I thought this was interesting, most abortions now — even when you go to a clinic are done with the pill. The pill. And pills are easy to get in America,” Maher continued. “So, you know, for the people who say we’re going back to 1973, we’re not. That’s just factually inaccurate.”
Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala responded by telling Maher, “We’re not going back to 1973, we’re going back to 1931,” citing Texas law that imprisons doctors who perform abortions under the state’s trigger ban if Roe v. Wade is reversed and how the trigger laws in both the Lone Star state and Michigan have no abortion exceptions.
Former NBC Sports reporter Michele Tafoya disagreed with Begala and pivoted the conversation to how there should be limits to abortion.
“There’s got to be a point at which we say this is a human being capable of living outside the womb where maybe we don’t — we don’t do that,” Tafoya said. “I think that’s what you see a lot of in Europe and a lot of people are kind of settling around, ‘Okay, 15 weeks maybe.’”
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Begala later argued that the “rationale” in the draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito would apply to things like interracial and same-sex marriage, which Tafoya pushed back on, pointing to how Alito states the ruling would specifically apply to abortion because it involves a “third party,” being the unborn child.
Maher then railed against those who say Roe v. Wade is “settled law.”
“This whole bulls— argument about, ‘Well, it’s settled law.’ So was segregation. Plessy vs. Ferguson was ‘settled law’ in 1896 and thank God somebody said let’s unsettle it. So that’s a bulls— argument. It’s what you think,” Maher said. “If you like babies, then you’re pro-life and if you’re pro-women, you’re pro-choice.”
The HBO star turned to Begala about his concerns about overturning Roe v. Wade having a “domino” effect on other rights.
“Don’t stir up fear now. Be honest,” Tafoya told Begala before he responded.
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Begala continued to argue since the abortion law is classified under the same privacy right as things like marriage and contraception, they too can be in jeopardy.
“But Clarence Thomas is — it’s an interracial marriage,” Maher pushed back. “I guess what I’m saying is I really feel like abortion is unique. It is because either — you just have this view that it’s murder. I could put the argument on a hat when people talk about a woman’s right. ‘Murder isn’t a right.’ If you think it’s murder — I don’t, again, crazy me… ”