'Full Frontal' Goes After Texas Abortion Laws

During this insane presidential primaries race, at least there are people like John Oliver and Samantha Bee on television to makes me just a tiny bit less scared of what will become of this world. On her show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Samantha Bee discussed the issue of Texas lawmakers placing stringent and potentially unconstitutional restrictions on health clinics that provide abortions. This Daily Show alumni, like Oliver before her, has her own platform for reporting on the state of America's political affairs with unrelenting intelligence and humor. And her coverage of this women's rights issue showed how important it is for there to be a woman's voice on American late-night TV. (Well, lateish-night TV since Full Frontal with Samantha Bee airs on TBS on Monday nights at 10:30 p.m.)

After scolding liberally-minded people who did not vote in the 2010 midterm election for bearing responsibility in the creation of the Republican machine that is Donald Trump, she turned her razor-sharp wit toward Texas and uteruses. The state has placed elaborate regulations on facilities that provide abortions and under these laws, the number of abortion clinics in the state will go down to the estimated paltry number of 10, according to The New York Times. Considering that Texas is the second most populous state in the U.S. after California, that low number of safe places for women to have an abortion is disturbing. And Bee isn't alone in thinking that since the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case and make a ruling that will decide if what Texas lawmakers have done is unconstitutional and goes against Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in 1973.

Because of Justice Antonin Scalia's death, Bee made the point that the Supreme Court could have a split vote of four to four. In the cases of a tie in the Supreme Court, the original lower court's decision is upheld. For this case of Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, abortion clinics in Texas would have to continue to follow the rules established in the law known as HB2 if there is a tie in the Supreme Court. And as Bee pointed out, that could lead to other states following Texas' lead on limiting access to abortion clinics.

Bee went face-to-face with one of the men behind HB2, Texas State Representative Dan Flynn. Like in her Daily Show interviews, Bee did not hold back on speaking her mind to Flynn, who she felt was not qualified to make decisions about women's health as a man. Flynn defended his 2013 bill, which mandates clinics providing abortions meet ambulatory surgical center standards — a costly upgrade that has already led to some clinics having to shut down. The laws outlined in HB2 have many ways to limit women's access to abortions (including mandating the width of the hallways of the clinic), but Flynn stood by his claim that the laws are only there to protect women and make sure they are healthy — not to make it more difficult for women to have an abortion. But Flynn's stance was something that Bee was just not buying.

Bee asked Flynn how he was going to handle regulating back alleys that women in Texas will have to turn to if this bill continues to cause clinics to close. He seemed absolutely flabbergasted at the idea that women would have to seek a desperate solution if abortions in clinics were not made available.

Along with Bee taking on Flynn and Americans United for Life (an "anti-choice" organization, in the words of Bee), she also met with NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue. She wanted to make sure that Hogue was ready to take on the Texas government if the Supreme Court can't reach a decision and brought in backup. And if you were concerned that Hogue was scared off by Bee's enthusiasm and guests WNBA coach Stephanie White and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg shark, don't worry. Hogue has met Bee before, like in this memorable Daily Show segment about how Medicare pays for penis pumps.

So, if you can forgive Bee for her massive Game of Thrones spoiler (to be fair, the Red Wedding did happen all the way back in Season 3), she used this extended segment to educate her fans on an important issue in Texas that could have major repercussions in other states after the Supreme Court hearing. Since the Supreme Court will start hearing arguments on March 2, there most likely won't be a verdict on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt for months, so you'll want to keep tuning into Full Frontal to see Bee continue to take a zero-bullsh*t stance on women's rights issues.

Images: TBS (4)