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Special Report

Abortion battle on Capitol Hill

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So then I'd want to schedule, try to schedule an ultra sound with an OB around then, and then I would still be able to come back here for a termination if it was a girl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would be in July.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Alright.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. And again, you know, if you go and see an OB/GYN, you know, pretty soon and you do an ultrasound to see exactly how far along you are --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- then you can really detect, "OK this is how far along I am, this is when I need to know -- this is when I'll know whether or not it's a boy or a girl."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gotcha

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, that is a video by the pro-life group Live Action taken inside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. The woman went into the clinic allegedly posing as an expectant mother who only wanted to abort her baby if it turned out to be a girl. This video is released on a day that the House is debating the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act which would make it a crime to perform an abortion solely on the basis of the gender of the unborn child.

Now Planned Parenthood has released a statement in which they dispute this video, saying it was highly edited, and also they took care of this particular worker saying, saying, quote, "Six weeks ago a former staff member serving in an entry-level position did not follow our protocol for providing information and guidance when presented with a highly unusual patient scenario...Within three days of the patient interaction, the staff member's employment was ended and all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining and managing unusual patient encounters. Today opponents of Planned Parenthood are promoting an edited video of that hoax patient encounter." They say that this is not a statistic, there aren't a lot of stats of this happening, but this particular case is taken care of.

That said, there is a debate on the House floor. We're back with the panel. Charles, what about this?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, it's a very interesting debate because it will probably not succeed in the House. And the reason is that liberals in the House, the Democrats in the House will oppose this. And you've got to ask yourself, how could a feminist oppose this kind of legislation? After all, gender selection is the ultimate in gender discrimination. It's the killing of a female -- and it's almost always a female -- in utero, and you would expect a huge protest. Here it's probably a very small issue, although it's a huge issue in India and China where it's done on a mass scale. The normal ratio is 105 women -- female children to boys, in China and India it's 110, 115, which creates huge social imbalance, and it's unbelievably unjust and sexist.

So why would a feminist oppose it? The reason is because of our odd politics, because of a Supreme Court ruling which makes it impossible to have debate on abortion itself. We have to have debates on the periphery. And Liberals are gonna oppose this because they are afraid that it's a crack in door, and if you are to ban this kind of restriction on abortion, there will be other restrictions as well. But it's a weird debate and it puts people in extremely hypocritical positions.

BAIER: Here a quick listen to two sides of this debate as it continued on the House floor today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TRENT FRANKS, R - AZ: The people of this country are overwhelmingly for this bill. And liberals are going to have to make up their mind whether they're so committed to abortion on demand that they think that that includes killing little girls because they're little girls.

REP. BARBARA LEE, D - CA: Don't get me wrong. Of course we're opposed to sex-selection based on gender. That is not what this is about. This is about women's health care and gender discrimination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Well, A.B., I guess the question is how big a deal is this? And is this, as Charles mentioned, an avenue to getting at the abortion issue overall?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, there is a lot of very interesting abortion-related legislation that's been popping up around the country the last 18 months. And it is always an effort to chip away on both sides.

And politically what is problematic -- first of all, just legally this is problematic. Because, I don't know how it can be enforced. I don't know how it doesn't infringe on this doctor-patient confidentiality. I really don't know how this video that you showed, this disturbing video, which didn't seem like it was an irregular event at Planned Parenthood. I'm sure the woman has been fired, but she did not cite any manual saying we don't do this or anything. So I thought if this is happening, this is obviously horrid.

But it is not conclusive. How will a doctor -- the women will never be punished, only doctors. How will an abortion provider determine whether or not sex-selection is the reason behind the termination of the pregnancy? So that makes it hard.

The other problem politically is that the Republicans who introduced this have race language put in the original bill which they have since taken out. Congressman Franks said, "upon interaction of the bill, a minority baby is five times more likely to be aborted than a white baby." And so this allows the Democrats to portray this as an effort of Republicans to take away the right to choose from African-American women and the right to doctor-patient confidentiality as well.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I think A.B. hit on a key point in the Planned Parenthood video or statement. They talk about "unusual patient encounters," and they say that they condemn this practice of sex selective abortions. But at the same time Planned Parenthood's policy is to provide nonjudgmental advice and counsel to people who come in. So they don't actually discourage this in any way.

And I think you saw that in what I think was rather weasely language in the Planned Parenthood statement. You have somebody, like a group like Planned Parenthood that is continuing to give people this kind of advice. You have somebody like Barbara Lee on the floor of the House, who I would argue is maybe the further left member of the House of Representatives, refusing to support this. It shows it's a tough sell.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. But stay tuned for the latest developments from the Arab Spring.

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