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tv   To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe  PBS  January 15, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PST

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>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: >> the new 2011 lexus i.s., it's unless it's wielded with precision. >> the life technologies foundation is proud to support "to the contrary" on pbs. our foundation seeks to advance science education and to further society's understanding of the life sciences including the impact of genomics on the prtice of micine. >> and by: sam's club, committed to small business and the spirit of the entrepreneur. and proud to support pbs's "to the contrary" with bonnie erbe. additional funding provided by:
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the colcom foundation the charles a. frueauff foundation and by the sanofi aventis foundation. >> this week on "to the contrary" the debate over gun control heats up. then, the declining abortion rate hits a plateau. behind the headlines: michelle bachelet, former president of chile, discusses her new role as head of un women. >> hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, the tucson massacre and gun control: the tragedy in tucson has renewed efforts to tighten gun
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control laws. house democrat carolyn mccarthy wants to reinstate a ban on high-capacity magazines. police say this is the type of clip the gunman allegedly used to kill six people and injure 14 others including congresswomen gabrielle giffords. high-capacity ammunition clips which can hold more than 30 bullets were outlawed 16 years ago under the federal assault weapons ban. but that law expired in 2004. gun control proponents are rallying behind mccarthy's amendment as well as one offered by new york republican peter king that would outlaw weapons within 1,000 feet of federal officials, but king's own party leaders are not backing his plan. a new poll finds 47% of americans now support stricter gun laws, up from 40% last year, but way, way down from almost
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80% 20 years ago. >> we need to take steps to protect people in our society. i believe the steps we need to take should apply to everyone. we shouldn't have a gun-free zone just for congressmembers or elected officials. we should have a gun-free zone for everyone. so i'm supporting congresswoman mccarthy's effort to ban these high-speed clips that are used to just kill people. and i feel what happened to my very good friend gabby giffords should be a wake-up call to this nation and it should be a turning point where we take steps again inflammatory rhetoric, against access to guns by deranged people. >> irene that natividad will congress end up passioning even the minor type of gun control that it's considering? >> i don't know if it's a turning point in terms of gun control. because frankly i think the gun
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owners of this country are already in place. i think flare row scope bills just like congresswoman mccarthy's bill will probably pass. >> representative giffords is pro gun. any democrat or republican that supports that bill would be using giffords' tragedy to promote something that she opposed. >> i don't think that the bill is going to pass because i don't think it will even be brought up unless the votes are not there to pass it. only reason it would be brought up if boehner can get the democrats on record to have the nra flog them with their notes in the vex auto necks cycle. >> there i will bipartisan support for small bills yacht i don't see them passing. >> it's a been long time since this country was solidly behind gun control but ought the polls show a huge gender divide on this issue. but now 20 years ago there was
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78% support for gun control, have women abandoned this as an issue? are more women pro gun rights than pro gun control at this point? >> i think more women are more comfortable with guns, handling guns themselves. when you look at the kinds of threats that we face and face on a large scale, it was box cutters in an airplane that killed massive numbers of peep on 9/11. it was fertilizer that killed people in oklahoma city. many women recognize that it's not the guns that are the problem, it's the evil behind the guns, it's what's motivating the people to kill other people on mass scale. >> still, we have almost open access to guns in this country. i think that is the part that is really horrible a lot of people now, stopping gun -- having gun control and having strict laws against that is not going to pass. the national rival association actually had, a very strong
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lobby had program to persuade women and to even train them on the use of handguns. so i'm not at all -- >> but do you think that's responsible for dropping the support from almost 80% 20 years ago down to 40% before this most recent massacre? >> there are powerful lobby they have very good messages and have done a great job. i think that's part of it. the other part is, we had 9/11. and we've had other massacres, if you will, that showed people, i may be in danger. you combine the two, a powerful lobby for guns in this country and disasters in massacre, is that took place that showed people that they're vulnerable. there's a general acceptance, maybe i should protect myself. >> one factor i saw raised on a pro-gun blog was that we actually have since 1990 put a fair number of gun control laws
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in to affect including for a time, anyway, the assault weapons ban, which of course expired was not renewed in '94, i believe it was. are women in particular, wendy, your closest on this panel to that community, are they saying look, we did support gun control before but now we have enough is that what is going on here? >> you can look at the history. columbine occurred when the assault weapons ban was in place. so, we've seen the gun control law be put in place but hasn't made people safer. when you look at the areas with the highest murder rates so high that doesn't even make the newss d.c., new york city, the places that have the strongest and strictest gun control laws. >> you know, there are 300 million guns in this country, i read that somewhere, i was flabbergasted. that's almost as many people as we have in this country. when you have that many guns available, whatever the laws are
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there will be accidents and massacres and i think it's just fact that it's such a big business and big industry that hasn't been curbed. i think it is access, it is the check, background checks, i think it is those kinds of laws that will sort of not contest gun ownership. but limit access to guns that i think may be doable in the future. >> i'm curious about two things, any way -- widespread access you're talking about is on the steet in some cases, but also this guy, loughner, the suspect, purchased his weapon legally with a magazine legally. will there be any attempt to try to limit -- i mean there's no other way to describe him except for schizophrenic and clearly seriously mentally unbalanced, can we at least get to the point where we can agree guns shouldn't be in those people's hands? >> yeah, i think there is
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agreement on that. there is agreement on things like background checks. much like the health care bill, people agree with small aspects but taken altogether is the -- >> people mix it up. >> people are okay at lower levels, people are weary about more federal involvement in this. but even with the mental health issue he would have slipped through the cracks he did not send up enough flags. even add restrictions on the mentally ill which i don't see anybody having a problem with. he still would be able -- still would have access. how do we keep guns out of the hands of those people without restricting the rights of other gun owners, it's really tough one. >> how do you discern somebody is mentally unbalanced. it's not in their driver's license, how do you -- >> one question they ask you on background checks is if you ever consulted a psychiatrist or taken those sorts of things. there are ways. but is there a politically palpable solution to this
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situation that can stop these -- since columbine there have been 22 in the last 11 years, mass shootings with a minimum of five people killed, scores injured and then you look at the worst one, virginia tech, clearly another unbalanced person gaining access to an automatic weapon and killing 32 people. what i don't understand is why as a nation we slit and watch this and ignore it? >> i don't see -- excuse me, i don't see why we need to have guns of that magnitude, that killing capability even out there in society. i don't see any reason for it. when you look at every other developed country, their gun laws are so different from ours. people just look at us and they think, what is going on here. and i think probably in the american psyche one of the problems is the word "control."
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and i notice that carolyn mccarthy is using the term "gun safety law" which she is doing trying to pass a gun safety law. so perhaps it's reframing having some language so that people understand, this is not about taking away your liberty. this is about public safety. >> that you don't need 30 bullets to kill a person or an animal when you're hunting. >> right. >> even if we were to address high capacity magazines, there have been gunman that of ha come in with multiple guns. that doesn't again necessarily get to the heart of the issue. or even with disclose your mental health on a form. there's a big privacy issue, if you have been -- if you were battered woman you have seen a psychiatrist, you would have to check then not be able to defend yourself. it's not as cult and dry as just checking yes or no. it's a very nuance issue. the more people become used to guns i think the more people are less okay with blanket restrictions. >> all right, from gun safety to curbing unplanned pregnancies. after nearly three decades of
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steady decline, the u.s. abortion rate has stalled. this according to a new study from the guttmacher institute finding beween 2005 to 2008, the abortion rate changed only slightly. the rate peaked 29.3 in 1981, but had consistently fallen until now. both pro-life and pro-choice advocates expressed disappointment. while the study did not ask women why they chose to terminate a pregnancy, some believe the economy and rough job market affected women's access to birth control or their ability to provide for another child. pro-lifers blame opponents for making it easier for women to obtain abortions, pointing to the increased number of women taking ru-486. or the abortion pill. ru-486 now accounts for 17% of all abortions what is the bigger facr the economy or is it less access to
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aubergess, what's causing this change in long term trend? >> first of all i would caution against drawing conclusions from one year in which there is such a minuscule change in the date. that as i say there are has damn lies and statistics. i don't think that we can call eight trend at this point. that having been said look back at times when there has been economic difficulty and the birth rate always falls during those times. and it's because people are trying to be responsible. they want to be able to feed and take care of the children that they have. and so if they can't get access to birth controlf they can't get access to the means of preventing unintended pregnancy it's not unreasonable to assume then that if they are faced with unintended pregnancy that they may choose to terminate the pregnancy. >> there is a former director of planned parenthood clinic just released a book, abby johnson describing what she saw inside
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the abortion industry. she said planned parenthood required quota on the number of abortions that are performed that they had to meet. kept being increased. also turns out that planned patient hood now requires all their he affiliates to provide abortions. they're not allowed not to provide abortions. we're not going to see a decrease in abortions within we have industry like planned parenthood demanding that there are more abortions. >> i'm confused. >> that's not true. >> go ahead. >> what i do have a question -- go ahead. >> i just want to say i don't want information that's not accurate to be out on the table unchallenged, that's all. i am no longer with planned parenthood i haven't been there for five years but i will have to say that the idea of administering a quota is just simply outrage us. >> when you say that, though, are you referring to use of prescription medication to prevent implantation of the zigot or are you talking -- when
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you talk about abortion? >> abby johnson the director, who was at planned parenthood stated that it was number of abortions which is the chemical which is ro-46 and -- >> my question to you was, is it not possible that the rates been dropping for so long because young women, particularly are finding out that they don't have -- there's plan b and ru-486 and that there are ways around having to go to a clinic, get past protesters and be publicly humiliated. >> if you are referring to the number of abortions going down, they find that the tubs particularly go down in states that have past regulations on abortion. so when the regulations requiring informed consent, waiting period, they see the number of abortions go down. when women are better informed given alternatives less likely to choose abortions. >> now not saying that it has
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anything to do with more young women getting educated about prescription -- take can pills as opposed to going to a clinic and physically having a procedure. >> the reduction in the number of abortions preceded over the counter access to plan b. >> i think the economy doe have something to do with it. it costs money to buy contraceptives, to have an abortion, to have a baby. fact that we're going through a very, very difficult economic time has to have an impact on woman's decision whether to have a child or not. i think for us to ignore that, whatever the laws are, whatever access there is to different kinds of contraceptives and abortion pills, that is an important thing we should remember. i also think that the biggest cohort in the population are baby boomers. >> we're getting old.
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>> so you will see -- i think you're right, i think one year is not enough to see a trend. i think you will see more decrease in abortions because the population has aged. those that are -- we were the biggest bunch in the whole population of -- >> there are fewer young people percentage wise. >> and also the young people are marrying later, they're not necessarily marrying. they may have children much later in life. there are all these other trends that impact on why people are having abortions or not. >> you are the only one -- truly, in that age group that's likely to be using more agents as opposed to prescription medications as to getting clinical abortions. >> we're also an age group that has grown up with aware of birth control, some at very early age from, sex education in junior high and high school on. that has always been presented as an option. i think that has always been a part of someone's consciousness. we're likely to see a lot
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mr. bills at the state level and federal level with all the republican gains that were made in november. we'll see how that affects trends because if it's more difficult to gain access to a clinical care or if it is -- i guess that remains. >> sorry. behind the headlines: u.n. women. created entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, or un women, officially sprang into action on the first of the new year. devoted to the needs and rights of women, the agency hopes to put women at the forefront of global development. director, former chilean president michelle bachelet directs it, and explained her goals for the organization to "to the contrary:" >> our main goal is to in some limit be able to live in a world where women are free of violence at home or elsewhere in conflict countries. where women will be able to get a job with equal payment and
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conditions. where women will be able to be educated as men. where women and girls will have access to health as they deserve it as human beings. >> the united nations has supported women's equality for decades. it adopted the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women or cedaw in 1979, and the beijing agreement to secure women's human rights in 1995. u.n. women will continue this legacy and work as an umbrella agency uniting various u.n. programs designed to advance women's rights worldwide. bachelet believes it will give more power, presence, and authority. but with a relatively small budget just $500 million question how much impact it can have. >> i don't intend to tell you
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that in a month or a year time we're going to finish all the problems of the women and girls around the world. of course not. this is a very, i would say, intense work. but long work, sometimes -- in some parts of the world we need to deal with very important issues and not issues that you can change or transform, cultural changes that need time to produce an affect. but we know exactly what we have to do. >> bachelet is a single mother and former political exile, as well as chile's first and only woman president. currently, women make up 19% of all governing bodies around the world. congress, parliament, et cetera, around the world. bachelet hopes u.n. women will raise that percentage. she says political participation is essential to global development. >> we're working very hard to produce a number of women who are in conditions with skills to be in the future may be, experience is that after
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conflict or during conflict women usually are not sitting at the peace talks. then peace agreements do not consider -- don't even mention the situation that the women had during the conflict and they did not consider in the solution the reparations or the needs for women. and in my personal experience as someone who worked every time in public administration or as a minister or as a president i saw this tremendous capacity and tremendous commitment of women, to build better communities, to bring good ideas to the table. to see how can they solve problems in a way including others. so really believe it is not only on the benefit of women that we need to give women more opportunities and more rights, it's also in the incredible benefit of the whole society to the whole world. >> while u.n. women will focus a
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lot of its time on women and girls in third-world nations, bachelet says certain issues hold back women's progress in both developed and developing countries. >> even in the u.s., i'm convinced in that probably not in every house, but in many places every time a woman is a worker, whatever she is, in any kind of work and her children are sick, the one who will stay at home is probably the woman. or if there's someone in the elderly who has problems, it's the women who will be taking care of their mother or father. and i believe if that remains so like obligation, a social obligation of women, to always be the one to take care of any member of the family who have any problem, we'll be in some way cutting the possibility of women.
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that's why i believe we need also to work in more developed society on the developing models where the economy of care change where the whole society can be held accountable, responsible for that. >> do you agree that this organization will give more prominence to women's issues worldwide and what's the most important thing that the u.s. has to do -- u.n. has to do for women not only worldwide but in the united states? >> it depds on what they decide to spend their time and attention on f. they spend a lot of their money and attention on conferences at five-star hotels and cocktail receptions, no, they're going to end up focus on the things that the elite women of the world want. women around the world face dire circumstances, whether it's a lack of literacy, lack of property rights, human trafficking, those should be a top priority. a woman can't have a place at the table of power broker, being a power broke fer she can't
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read. the attention should be on, what can we do to make sure that these girls are able to get the education they need, are they having to spend all their time getting water for their family, for basic survival that's why they're not able to get an education. >> what makes you think that they would allocate their money for conferences in five-star hotels? >> i am at the u.n. quite often. >> and i have been involved with unicef for a long time, you know this have focused on women's health and economic development. i mean, that will be bachelet's focus, i happen to know her, i think she's the perfect leader for this new organization. >> as far as you're concerned number one, you travel the globe all the time, global women's issues, what is the number one issue for women world ride? >> economic empowerment. because when will have money they can have health care, power, they can have status. >> quickly, nicole? >> i agree economicment power through profit right rule of law and discouraging violence. >> every woman needs her 500 pounds and womb of her own.
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>> i'm not sure if -- what you meant by that. but that is it for this edition of "to the contrary." next week: reality tv and women. please join us on the web for "to the contrary extra." whher your views are in agreement or to the contrary, please join us next time. >> funding for "to the contrary" provided by:
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>> the new 2011 lexus i.s., isn't real performance unless it's wielded with precision. >> the life technologies foundation is proud to support "to the contrary" on pbs. our foundation seeks to advance science education and to further society's understanding of the life sciences including the impact of genomics on the practice of medicine. >> and by: sam's club, committed to small business and the spirit of the entrepreneur. and proud to support pbs's "to the contrary" with bonnie erbe. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation the charles a. frueauff foundation and by the sanofi aventis foundation. for videotapes of "to the contrary", please contact federal news service at 1-888-343-1940.
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