As many of my followers know, I’m an unashamed daytime TV junkie and one of the shows I enjoy watching is ABC’s panel gabfest, The View. Last week, former co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck hit the talk show circuit promoting her new book, Point of View. Much of it details her time on the show while questionably leaving out her former co-host and sparring partner, Rosie O’Donnell. While the “split-screen” is a very popular and defining moment for Hasselbeck, the most memorable thing she ever said was something that made me interrogate my own political and moral beliefs.
Right before O’Donnell joined the show, a heated exchange took place around the time the FDA approved the morning after pill to be sold over the counter. The clips of the exchange went everywhere and within the week, ABC red flagged and removed all of them from YouTube and other websites. Luckily, I found video of the discussion on ABC News’ website a few years back and saved it in case I ever needed to reference it.
For those of you who refuse to expose yourself to the clip, here’s the recap: Hasselbeck launched into her severe disapproval of the morning after pill being readily available because she believed that taking the pill was akin to “birthing a baby and leaving it out in the street.” Guest host Lisa Loeb called her position “extreme.” While Hasselbeck tried to explain and defend her position to her panelists, predictably she was interrupted and shouted down by fellow panelist Joy Behar and ridiculed by the studio audience. Hasselbeck was asked by then-moderator Barbara Walters whether someone who is the victim of rape or incest should have access to the morning after pill or an abortion and she responded that while she would not choose it for herself (and making it clear she wouldn’t approve it for anyone else), she believes it should be administered only in those circumstances. The exchange ended with Walters admonishing a defiant Hasselbeck on the air after going off the rails. Then following a commercial break, a crying Hasselbeck and Walters held each other in a parent/childlike exchange and Walters praised Hasselbeck for her passionate views. She nearly quit the show if the recent excerpts from a competing tell-all book are to be believed. But the mic drop moment that sticks to me that many missed in the mele was when Hasselbeck asked her fellow panelists and the viewing audience about babies born of rape or incest, “Does that life then not have value?”
Think about that question beyond her position on the morning after pill. In today’s social justice climate, we place paramount importance on the lives of those who are marginalized, be it for race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sex/gender, religion, class, or disability. Leaving my own position out of the argument, I have to ask why does our liberal social justice climate refuse to acknowledge the personhood and value of life in society’s most vulnerable?
The value of life isn’t a partisan issue. I don’t believe it is up to humanity to determine who is more worthy of living than someone else, even if that inherently goes against my support of capital punishment and first-trimester only abortions. Why do liberal social justice warriors care about the lives of young black men being terminated by the police while simultaneously approving of those same lives being dismembered, discarded, and sold for sport? Why do they care about the value of the lives of other marginalized individuals being taken by white supremacist groups and bigots, but not about the lives ended by organizations rooted in white supremacy like Planned Parenthood? Why do they care about Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education cutting Special Olympics funding if they believe there’s no value in the life of a person with Down Syndrome?
Liberals love to use to term "reproductive justice" to describe a woman's right to an abortion. I believe that term should also apply to the mother being deceived and taken advantage of by organizations and clinics like Planned Parenthood. And most of all, the justice should extend to the unborn and those born after botched abortions who have no way of defending their right to life. The recent bills coming up in state legislatures across the country, regarding approval of what is basically infanticide, is exactly the sort of slippery slope Hasselbeck referenced when she discussed the morning after pill with her co-hosts over a decade ago. One of the biggest threats to the lives of marginalized individuals is the one Democrats and social justice warriors conveniently refuse to address. Those lives could have also been our future presidents, innovators, and entertainers, too. Those lives mattered.
Hasselbeck’s morality play sticks with me to this day. It is the most important and authentic thing she ever said during her years on The View. And as someone who goes a little off the rails on his own rants, I don’t think she should have any shame in her morning after pill word salad or being angry that she was silenced by Walters. And a big thanks to her and other passionate pro-lifers who are out there saying the things that many of their counterparts are not brave enough to say or express for fear of retribution. Some of us are listening to you.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.