Fox Guests Use Texas Anti-Choice Bill To Downplay Access Restrictions, Invoke Gosnell

Monica CrowleyFox contributors Kirsten Powers and Monica Crowley mischaracterized a Texas bill that would have limited reproductive rights by downplaying the restrictive measures in the bill, which would have closed almost all abortion-providing facilities in Texas, and repeatedly invoking convicted criminal Kermit Gosnell.

On the June 26 edition of Fox News' America Live, Megyn Kelly hosted Monica Crowley and Kirsten Powers -- both Fox News contributors -- to discuss Senate Bill 5 (SB5), a measure that failed to pass after Texas Senate Democrats held a successful filibuster.

During the segment, Powers claimed that concerns from reproductive rights groups were exaggerated, adding: “I don't think that many clinics are going to close.” Crowley agreed, saying reproductive health advocates “always try to go right to hyperbole -- that women are going to have to flee to Tijuana because they're not going to have access in Texas to abortion. It's all ridiculous.” 

Crowley went on to claim that restrictions in SB5 were “completely reasonable” and that they were “a direct response to the horrors of the Gosnell case.” She also used the story to revive the disgusting and long-debunked myth that Obama voted as a state senator to support the killing of infants who were born alive.

Because of a restriction in SB5 that would, according to, “require abortions to be done in ambulatory surgical centers by doctors with admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic,” it's estimated that almost 90% of facilities that provide abortions in Texas -- the percent that do not currently meet that high threshold -- could be forced to close. The Washington Post explained how the bill would impact reproductive access by imposing requirements that only five existing centers would meet:

The first requirement of the bill is for all abortions to take place in surgical centers, facilities designed to cope with major surgeries that could lead to life-threatening complications. The majority of abortions are not surgical procedures, and 37 of the state's 42 abortion clinics don't meet that new standard, so many would need to relocate and spend millions of dollars to reach it.

Those five remaining clinics are in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and two in Houston. A woman living along the Mexico border or in West Texas would have to drive hundreds of miles to obtain an abortion if the law passes.

In a June 24 editorial, the Dallas Morning News called the requirements “a good-sounding but sneaky way of cutting off access to abortion services”:

Why are lawmakers making changes for which medical professionals don't see the need?

Nevertheless, SB 5 would require higher standards for abortion clinics and mandate that doctors have admitting privileges in a hospital no more than 30 miles from where the abortion is being provided.

That latter requirement is a classic case of a good-sounding but sneaky way of cutting off access to abortion services. In some parts of Texas, there may be only one nearby hospital. Its leaders could object to granting admitting privileges to a doctor who provides abortions. Some women could end up with no access to a doctor who could perform an abortion.

Despite repeated attempts by the Fox contributors to link SB5 to Kermit Gosnell, the Texas bill has no connection to the convicted murder. Lauren Rankin at pointed out that restrictive measures like those in the bill force women to seek abortions outside of the safety of regulation from unsafe and illegal practitioners like Gosnell:

While Republican lawmakers attempt to use criminal abortion provider Kermit Gosnell to smear safe and legal abortion, they ignore the fact that by closing 37 of the 42 abortion clinics in the state of Texas, they are essentially sentencing women to dangerous illegal abortions and sending women straight to illegal abortion providers like Gosnell.