NARAL's Responsible Retreat?

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 12, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the "Radio Factor!"

JOHN GIBSON, GUEST HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, this week, the pro-abortion group NARAL released an ad opposing the Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts (search).

That ad was so controversial, it even divided the abortion rights movement, some calling the allegation against Roberts untrue, while others like former Planned Parenthood (search) President Gloria Feldt defended it.


BILL O'REILLY, HOST: They're demonizing this guy, trying to make this guy soft on violence against women. It's just wrong. And you know it's wrong, Gloria. You know what they're doing here is just wrong.

GLORIA FELDT, AUTHOR OF THE BOOK "THE WAR ON CHOICE": No, they are properly asking the questions.

O'REILLY: No, they're demonizing.

FELDT: That is their responsibility and duty to ask.

O'REILLY: They're paying $500,000 to demonize.

FELDT: And anyone who wants to sit on the United States Supreme Court should answer questions.


GIBSON: Well, NARAL has decided to pull the ad. They're reportedly working on developing something new. And here is Gloria Feldt again.

Gloria, NARAL seems to have changed its opinion. Did it change yours?

FELDT: No. I actually did my own research yesterday as I was writing an article about the whole Roberts nomination, not just the ad. And my conclusion is that there was really nothing in the ad that was problematic.

But I think that NARAL was probably right to say look, we're getting off the subject here because there are several issues for which John Roberts needs to answer.

GIBSON: But wait a second, before you go to those questions.


GIBSON: Even The Washington Post, which I think supports NARAL generally, said this was a smear ad. And it was untrue. There was borderline lies. Are you telling me that it's OK to lie for a higher purpose?

FELDT: Oh, absolutely not. Absolutely not. No way, no how.

But what I can tell you is that the fact of the matter is that the core issue is really one about John Roberts' character and how much his personal ideology will influence his decisions once he's on the United States Supreme Court. The fact that he had the opportunity.

GIBSON: Yes, but wait...

FELDT: Wait. Let me finish my sentence. The fact that he had the opportunity to weigh in on the side of the health centers, who were doing nothing wrong, the women who needed to be able to access reproductive health services at a time when violence was escalating and he didn't do it.

GIBSON: What he said was, I saw him in a PBS interview. He said the law being proposed here to, as you say, side with the clinics was the 1872 Ku Klux Klan law. It simply did not apply. That hardly sounds like hostility to the clinics. It merely sounds like he wasn't willing to toe the line and meet the demands of the supporters of the clinics.

FELDT: Oh, no, no, no.

GIBSON: And that if he didn't then he was going to be vilified with what amounts to life. This ad implied that his opinion was a direct result of that abortion clinic bombing. The opinion was signed seven years before this bombing.

FELDT: No, no, no, no.

GIBSON: It was a lie.

FELDT: He weighed in on the side of a man, Michael Bray, who had been convicted previously of a string of clinic bombings. And on behalf of the Operation Rescue organization that has a long history of violence.

GIBSON: He merely said the wrong law is being applied.

FELDT: Let me speak to you as someone who is on the front lines at that time...

GIBSON: Fine. But let me just tell you. All he said as a judge was wrong law. He's now being pilloried as a judge to say this law you were asking apply to this case doesn't.

FELDT: That's one of the issues that he needs to answer for.

GIBSON: Answer for?

FELDT: Yes. He could have done something at that point in time by his position within the Justice Department to help to de-escalate the violence that was going on against the clinics.

GIBSON: Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the ACLU attorney. She refused to answer these questions in advance on the grounds that she should never say in advance what she thinks about an issue that may come before her. Why do you hold a different standard for Roberts?

FELDT: No, I don't. I think it's right that he should not answer questions about a particular case. But I don't believe that anyone should sit on the United States Supreme Court who does not positively affirm that he will uphold the Constitution, including the enlargement of our personal freedoms.

GIBSON: Do you realize you've lost this? Do you realize you've lost this? When you've got The Washington Post saying this was a smear.

FELDT: No, this is not me. I do not represent any organization. I'm telling you my opinions here tonight.

GIBSON: I'm just telling you, Democrats and Republicans. are now going to vote for this guy. And partially because NARAL went out and smeared him.

FELDT: I think that, you know, it's highly likely that Roberts will be confirmed, but that was the case from the beginning. Nevertheless.

GIBSON: So why fight this fight? Why tell lies about it?

FELDT: It's really important to raise the questions.

The role that he took in the Bray case was problematic. The leadership conference on civil rights says the same thing. Many of the other organizations have had the same concern.

But equally importantly in the case of Rust versus Sullivan, he specifically said that he thought Roe should be overturned.

GIBSON: Ms. Feldt. I've got to run. Gloria Feldt, thank you.

FELDT: And he needs to answer those questions.

GIBSON: Thanks for coming. I think you lost this one.

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