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Britain's Chaotic Exit From Afghanistan; Interview With Author David Kilcullen; Abortion Rights Under Threat; Interview with American Bridge 21st Century Co-Chair Cecile Richard; Interview with "Kathleen Turker: Finding My Voice" Star Kathleen Turner. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired December 14, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Blowing the whistle on Britain's chaotic exit from Afghanistan. I'm joined by the lawmaker investigating the startling
Then: Former infantryman David Kilcullen's new book, "The Ledger," calculates the cost of the West's many failures there.
CECILE RICHARDS, CO-FOUNDER, SUPERMAJORITY: The question really is not how you personally feel about abortion, because it is a deeply personal issue.
The question is, who should make that decision?
AMANPOUR: America's persistent culture wars. Former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards talks to Walter Isaacson about the persistent
assault on women's choice:
Plus, a show business legend, Kathleen Turner, joins me to talk about finding her voice and her one-woman show.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Abandoned by the West, under Taliban rule, the people of Afghanistan are now starving. The U.N.'s World Food Program says that around 98 percent of
Afghans simply don't have enough food as the winter approaches.
Here in the U.K., the public is beginning to see just how mismanaged and chaotic the August pullout really was, and just how many Afghan partners
were left to fend for themselves.
A British Foreign Office whistle-blower alleges that, while up to 150,000 people requested help, only 5 percent got it, that nobody dealing with
those requests had any real knowledge of Afghanistan or spoke the language, and that vital resources were used to rescue dogs, despite the countless
evacuation requests for people.
Now Parliament's Foreign Affairs Select Committee is examining those trends.
Conservative M.P. Tom Tugendhat is leading it. He is also a military veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And he's joining me now.
Mr. Tugendhat, welcome to the program.
I just wanted to start by asking you. That list that I just read out, which is what the whistle-blower Raphael Marshall is alleging, so far, in your
investigations, do you have any reason to doubt what he has said?
TOM TUGENDHAT, BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: No, we don't have any reason to doubt anything that he's put to us so far. And we put his evidence in great
detail to the head, the professional head of the U.K. Foreign Service, the officer that we call the permanent undersecretary of state, Sir Philip
And I'm afraid the answers that we got back from him were less than convincing, because we found ourselves trying to press on how the Foreign
Office has conducted its estimate for the number of people that needed evacuating, why it's taken the various time decisions as to when to begin
evacuations, when to begin creating the lists that will be needed for evacuations, when to begin collecting the biometric data.
And I'm afraid we found that, actually, Mr. Marshall had given us a rather better account than we were getting off the senior civil servants.
AMANPOUR: Well, you just mentioned Simon Barton of the Foreign Office. I'm going to play a little excerpt of an exchange between you and he during one
of the -- one of the sessions.
Basically, he wasn't around at his desk. He was on holiday, annual leave, when the fall of Kabul took place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILIP BARTON, U.K. UNDERSECRETARY, FOREIGN, COMMONWEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT OFFICE: One of a number of (OFF-MIKE) reflected on that.
And if I had my time again, I would have come back from my leave earlier.
TUGENDHAT: OK, what day did you actually come back?
BARTON: I came back on the 26th of August.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So he said, on reflection, he would have come back earlier. But he didn't come back for 10 days at least after the fall. I guess that and,
in general, how surprised have you been, especially with your military background, at what looks like total dysfunction on this massively
TUGENDHAT: Look, you have been a reporter for a number of years.
And what would you think if one of your lead reporters didn't go or didn't come back from leave in order to cover a major breaking story? What would
you think if the general didn't come back for a major incident?
This is the single biggest foreign policy incident that the U.K. has had in years, I mean, possibly even decades, the almost total destruction of a
British embassy, the placing at great danger of British diplomatic officials, and then the evacuation of some 15,000 people.
I mean, if that's not a major reversal in British foreign policy, frankly, I don't know what is. And so it's pretty extraordinary. I mean, I went
straight back to my desk. I know many other people went straight back to their desks for this.
For the head of the Foreign Service not to have done so just struck us as extremely odd.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, it's Philip, not Simon. I misspoke.
But now what we're seeing is, for all the reasons that we all know, the West doesn't like the Taliban. They have imposed sanctions. There's a
financial collapse there, but it's hurting the people there.
We know that the people can't even get beyond a certain amount of money from the cash machines. They can't get their own cash that's in the Afghan
banks because the Taliban has limited the amount of withdrawals. And the U.N.'s figures are really quite terrifying, basically saying that nearly 23
million people -- that's just over half the population -- are at serious risk of hunger, extreme hunger.
And nearly nine million of them face the risk of famine. I mean, that is stark. What is the British government and your allies, what do you think
you can do? Because there's sanctions on the Taliban right now. Do you think that's right at this moment?
TUGENDHAT: Well, I think what we need to do is to work with the U.N. agencies. You mentioned the World Food Program there.
It's brilliantly led by Governor David Beasley, who is a administrator who has been absolutely instrumental in transforming the organization, to the
point where it won the Nobel Peace Prize only just a few months ago. And using them to leverage their skills and to operate throughout the country,
I think, is absolutely essential.
There are other charities operating on the ground. And, at some point, we're going to have to think how we operate with this regime. The challenge
that we have got is a challenge for every country in -- around the world, including neighboring states, which is, where do you want this to go? Whose
side do you think you're taking?
Because I'm afraid the civil war in Afghanistan, very sadly, is probably not over. We're just entering a new phase.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you about the phases, because our next guest will be David Kilcullen, as I said, an infantryman in both the -- certainly in
Afghanistan, and he's written this book, and we're going to talk to him about it, and you have reviewed it.
And one of the things that I was fascinated to hear from you, as also a soldier on the ground, was about missed opportunities, and apparently
original sin, after the invasion or the intervention of 2001 after 9/11, getting rid of the Taliban regime.
You seem to agree that it was a mistake and a missed opportunity not to bring the Taliban into some kind of relationship in the new Afghanistan,
whether it was power-sharing, whatever it might be.
Tell me about that.
TUGENDHAT: Well, at the time that we succeeded in the initial invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, right up until 2002, we had the greatest leverage
possible over the country.
We had a new regime under Hamid Karzai, and we had a government, an embryonic government that was extremely willing to reform and to learn and
to see how it could operate as best as possible to liberate people, educate people, and empower people.
Now, that would have been a great moment to start to bring in those who, for many different reasons, had harbored those who hated us. And we could
have brought him in. Sadly, that was an opportunity that was missed, and the resentment that at first was harbored away, hidden in the mountains in
the remoter areas, grew and grew to the point where we saw it emerge really in 2007-'8, and then grow from there.
Now, I think there are lessons from that. Sadly, one of the lessons is that we have got to look at how we engage with all parties in Afghanistan. And
we make sure that what we don't do is find ourselves in the same position as we did in the mid-'90s, where, having got rid of the Soviet-backed
regime, we ended up creating a culture, if you like, an environment in which terrorism grew, and because already today we see that there are very
likely Da'esh, Islamic State training camps.
There are very likely other extremist elements who are training in the area. And while some of us will be no doubt at risk of their actions, those
who are next door to Afghanistan will be at the greatest risk. Countries like China and Russia, countries like Iran and Pakistan will be the ones
who will be facing the most immediate danger.
AMANPOUR: That word blowback all over again.
I know we have to let you go for a vote in Parliament.
But we're going to turn now to David Kilcullen, who has been listening to you, and also a veteran of the Afghan war. He served also as a senior
counterinsurgency adviser to the United States. And he's co-authored a new book, "The Ledger: Accounting for Failure in Afghanistan."
And he's joining me now from Colorado.
So, David, welcome to the program.
Let me just start where I left off with Tom Tugendhat.
I want to read a quote from the book, where you say at one point: "The task in Afghanistan was absolutely achievable, the war eminently winnable, but
we fail to achieve the mission, screwed up the effort from start to finish. And we have now been defeated."
I'm really interested to know, because we know that you have all been defeated, the West has been defeated, how do you think you could have
achieved the mission and actually won behalf of NATO, and, indeed, on behalf of the Afghan people?
DAVID KILCULLEN, AUTHOR, "THE LEDGER": Well, it's worth remembering that the U.S. Army in Europe lost more people in traffic accidents for the last
five years in peacetime than we were losing on the ground in Afghanistan.
what we had been doing ever since 2015, was not, in fact, fighting the counterinsurgency battle. We'd finished that at the end of 2014. We had
been supporting the Afghan military, and they were struggling to hold their own. But they until -- really the February 2020 deal between the United
States and the Taliban, it was quite a supportable effort. We were spending about $92 billion a year, which sounds like a lot if you don't understand
what governments spend regularly on every other aspect of governance.
And, essentially, we were in a situation rather similar to what we find ourselves now in Korea. Korea is not a satisfying complete outcome to a war
that happened in the 1950s. But for the last 70 years or so, we have recognized that we need to keep troops there in order to prevent a much
worse outcome were we to pull out.
And 2, 500 troops, or, indeed, 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, which is what we had up until about 2017, was eminently sustainable, less than half, in
fact, about a third of what we currently have in Korea. We have been doing that for 70 years. It didn't break the bank. There was no real military
reason to go ahead and withdraw as we did so chaotically this year.
What prompted it was effectively a moral collapse. We decided we didn't want to do it anymore. We told a lot of lies to the Afghans over the years.
We designed the Afghan military so that it only functioned with certain critical inputs from the West. We promised them that we would never, under
any circumstances, pull those inputs out.
And that's exactly what we did starting in April this year. So the degree of victim-blaming that has followed, where people have said, well, it was
inevitable, it was unwinnable, that's just shifting the blame to the victims.
And my I should mention, my co-author, Greg Mills, was in Kabul about three weeks before the city fell. And that informs a lot of our understanding
about how that collapse took place. And, frankly, it was not inevitable. We could have continued the effort, or, indeed, even if had we decided to
withdraw, we could have done it in a different sequence, which I think would have resulted in a very different outcome for 20-odd-million Afghans
who are currently at risk of starvation.
AMANPOUR: Right. As we have just discussed, I mean, it is a terrible, terrible situation to see them in that in that desperate humanitarian risk
right now. I mean, they just can't find food. They're selling their children. They're forcing girls into marriage just to make a few Afghanis,
which is the currency there.
You just talked about a moral betrayal. You actually quote: "What happened in Afghanistan in 2021 was not a defeat, but something between a betrayal
and a moral collapse."
You have sort of explained it, but I wondered whether you could tell me what you think about the British whistle-blower who basically annotated
that entire moral collapse and failure. And now it's being investigated by your friend Tom Tugendhat and the Parliament. What do you make of that and
what might that -- what lessons could that lead to?
KILCULLEN: Well, I have no special inside knowledge on the whistle- blower's allegations.
But I will just say that, having been intimately involved in the process of evacuating colleagues from Kabul during that same time frame, it all rings
true to me in terms of what we saw on the ground, what my teams experienced, what a lot of the Afghans that we worked with to save
experienced as well.
And I think that it does deserve a very thorough investigation. And I hope that it gets one. I'm appalled, frankly, not so much with the U.K., but
appalled that not one single person has been held accountable for what took place. Not one general has resigned or has been asked to resign. No elected
official has been held accountable.
None of the senior diplomats that played a role here were held accountable. The only person I'm aware of that's been held to account was Colonel Stu
Scheller, who is a U.S. Marine Corps officer who had the temerity to call for somebody to be held to account. And he's currently in jail as a result
of making that call.
And I think it's absolutely appalling, and not only from a moral standpoint, but also from a geostrategic one. This is a massive morale
boost for every terrorist group on the planet. We have probably just generated another decade's worth of the war on terrorism, because everybody
is now looking at what happened and saying, oh, that's right.
Scrappy little Taliban, everybody wrote them off for 20 years, they stuck with it, they were determined, they showed greater moral fortitude than the
rich and decadent West, and we can do the same.
And we're already seeing that kind of thing being said by people like Al- Shabaab in Somalia, by Da'esh. We're seeing it said by different groups across the planet. And I think we're going to see a similar spike in
terrorist activity to what we saw when ISIS captured Mosul in 2014.
AMANPOUR: So, David, let me ask you this, because it's fascinating, this notion of the Taliban, the Talibs, the culture, and what has happened in
the intervening 20 years.
I asked Tom because it's part of what you write in your book about the so- called original sin, not bringing in the Taliban in some form after their defeat, and when they wanted to, and when you had the most leverage over
them, and, instead, Donald Rumsfeld just nixing that, and being committed to the military annihilation of them, which obviously never happened, as we
Walk us through that, because many might think that it's just a crazy idea to think of bringing that group into government once they have been
Well, let's start with that last point that you made. I don't know why anybody would think that just because you have defeated an adversary on the
battlefield, that means that they have ceased to exist, and you don't need to even bother talking to them, which is what happened in 2001.
It's like saying, we're not even going to bother inviting the Germans to the Versailles peace treaty, right? It's just ridiculously stupid, frankly.
And those of us that were around at the time well remember this, and it's been documented from both the Taliban and the non-Taliban side in great
But on the 7th of December of 2001, the night that the final Taliban stronghold fell in the city of Kandahar, a collection of senior Taliban
officials, what happen to be the same people that are back in charge today in Kabul, people like Mullah Baradar, went to Hamid Karzai with an offer to
surrender, asked to be allowed to return to their homes in peace, acknowledge the authority of the Afghan government and of Hamid Karzai, who
had just been appointed as interim president in the Bonn conference.
And Karzai, said, yes, we will have a grand discussion amongst all the key players, and we will try to create peace. And he was shut down hard by
Donald Rumsfeld, then the secretary of defense, as you mentioned, who simply said, we don't negotiate with terrorists.
And for the next 20 years, we have been trying to fight our way back to exactly that same degree of leverage, which we had handed to us on a plate
in December of 2001, and have never been able to achieve it. Think about all the discussion over the past few years about negotiating from a
position of strength.
We're certainly not in a position of strength today. When we had that position of strength in 2001, we effectively threw it away. So I do think
that is the original sin, I think closely followed by the decision to invade Iraq a few months later, which sucked attention and resources and
international support away from the effort in Afghanistan at that critical moment when the Taliban were beginning to put the band back together after
their defeat in 2001.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
AMANPOUR: It is history, but also I want to ask, because you're, again, an expert on counterinsurgency, so what would you say then about your role?
Was that the wrong thing to do, counterinsurgency against -- because you're saying these people should have been somehow brought in and allowed to
surrender and do their thing, rather than go off to them and try to annihilate them. Do you think maybe the West has the whole
counterinsurgency piece wrong?
I mean, the fundamental difference between a straight kinetic counterterrorism strategy and a counterinsurgency strategy is precisely the
issue of negotiating, right, the notion that you are not going to kill your way to victory, you're not going to destroy every last Taliban supporter
with a rocket or missile.
What you are going to do is apply a combination of basically police techniques, governance, development, and military to get these people to a
point where they are willing to negotiate. And in the long history of counterinsurgency campaigns, governments win about 80 percent of the time.
But if you look at the cases where they win, it's almost always that they are willing to negotiate with the insurgents over the key issues that are
driving the insurgency. And that was the fundamental argument of the counterinsurgency community, that we needed to be talking to the Taliban,
but doing it in the context of a broader set of strategies.
And, in fact, that's what the surge was about between 2011 and 2014 in Afghanistan. It wasn't about destroying the Taliban. It was about
convincing them to negotiate. And I think it was a failure of execution.
I should say that, in the book, we spare ourselves not at all. We go through our own mistakes in some great detail about all the things we did
wrong. And I think people shouldn't think that the book is an attempt to say, oh, we were right or wrong.
KILCULLEN: We were absolutely part of the problem.
KILCULLEN: But I think that there's plenty of blame to go around. And we need to think about how we should address the next time one of these things
comes up, because, A, the war is in Afghanistan is not over.
KILCULLEN: And, B, we're still dealing with this terrorism threat globally.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it really is fascinating. Again, your book, "The Ledger."
David Kilcullen, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
Now, for decades in the United States, the culture wars have turned on a woman's fundamental right to freedom of choice. Two major cases on abortion
are the latest to sow divisions across the land.
Our next guest, Cecile Richards, was president of Planned Parenthood, and she's now co-founder of Supermajority, a new organization which is fighting
for gender equality.
Here she is talking to Walter Isaacson about what the Mississippi and Texas cases mean for women's rights, the law and politics.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Christiane.
And, Cecile Richards, welcome to the show.
RICHARDS: Thank you, Walter.
ISAACSON: There are two big cases that have just hit the Supreme Court on abortion.
The first is from Texas, your home state. Your mother was governor of Texas. Explain that Texas law and why you think the justices are now taking
RICHARDS: So, the Texas law essentially bans any safe and legal abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, which, of course, is long before many people
know they're pregnant.
But it also has an additional element, which is -- and one of the ways it tried to evade any challenge in the court, in that it's set up as a bounty
system, which is, the way it's enforced is by any citizen can turn in anyone they believe who has helped assist a woman access abortion services.
And that is, of course, a very novel idea and one that would be -- that is -- could be used in any number of different kinds of ways to avoid
challenges in the court.
So that the two elements are really before the court, but, of course, probably most important, Walter, is that, in Texas now, you cannot get a
legal abortion after six weeks, and that's been in effect now for more than three months.
ISAACSON: And the other case is a Mississippi case that says, after 15 weeks, a state can ban an abortion.
Were you surprised? I mean, what's changed since Roe v. Wade that would make them change the timing? And were you surprised at what you heard in
the oral arguments?
RICHARDS: Well, I was really disheartened by what I heard in the oral argument.
And I think your question is exactly on point. It's the one that Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Sotomayor asked, which is, we have had the right in this
country to safe and legal abortion for nearly 50 years now. It is established law. It's an established right.
And yet the court seemed willing to completely abandon precedent and rule now that what has been in effect, which is essentially, up until viability,
a woman or a pregnant person has the right to make their decision about a pregnancy, and that there should be no undue burden on exercising that
right, the court seemed willing to completely throw out both of those principles.
And what Justice Sotomayor said is, what has changed in 50 years that would make such a dramatic difference for the court to basically go against
precedent? She said, the medicine hasn't changed. The question of viability has changed. Women's need to be able to make their own decisions about
pregnancy hasn't changed. The only thing that has changed is politics on the Supreme Court.
And, of course, she talked very eloquently about whether or not the court can survive the stench that will result from potentially overturning a
right that women have had for 50 years.
ISAACSON: Well, yes, what's changed is the politics and elections have consequences.
ISAACSON: And that's what's causing this.
Isn't it partly on the Democrats and those who favor the right to abortion that they have been able -- they have been unable to control the politics
RICHARDS: Well, first, I just want to say we actually -- I work with an organization who just did polling with Planned Parenthood.
The right for women to make their own decisions about pregnancy, rather than the government, is something that's supported not just by Democrats.
It is supported by independents, by Republicans. People actually in the country don't understand why this is a political issue. So I think that's
And, in fact, I think the most recent poll said that about 80 percent of Americans believe that, when the question is, who should make a decision
about a pregnancy, the pregnant person or the government, overwhelmingly, 80 percent, say it should be the woman.
Now, the question of politics and whether the Democrats should have been able to prevent, as you know, Donald Trump committed to only appointing
justices that would overturn Roe vs. Wade. He was successful with Mitch McConnell's help in putting three justices on the Supreme Court.
And even though they said and there's been -- people have now shown their testimony saying they believe in precedent and established law, it seems
they are absolutely willing to go against that. These justices were put out in the most partisan fashion. Usually, we think of, historically, that
justices of the Supreme Court are supported by a bipartisan group.
As we know, the three justices that were put on by President Donald Trump were put on in a very partisan fashion. And, in fact, Justice Amy Coney
Barrett, who was a pivotal vote in this case and all future cases, was put on just weeks before the presidential election in almost a completely
So, they're -- and we know that the American public has a very low opinion of the Supreme Court right now. They believe it's very politicized. And I
think that's going to be a problem for our judicial system going forward.
ISAACSON: This politicization of the issue in the past 20 years or so harks back to something that Justice Ginsburg said, at one point, which was
that maybe it would have been better if this all had gone through legislative processes, rather than Roe v. Wade having done it by fiat by
the Supreme Court.
What do you say to that?
RICHARDS: Well, with all respect to the departed Justice Ginsburg, who, of course, we all wish was still on the Supreme Court right now, the truth is,
Roe was decided because this was a critical health issue for women across the country.
Women, young, healthy women, were dying in emergency rooms all across the United States of America. It was a public health crisis. And it was a right
that the justices believed women should have, regardless of their zip code, regardless of what state they lived in.
I mean, it is incredibly ironic, though, after 50 years of a right that women, families have been able to expect that they had that, suddenly,
overnight, they could lose that right. And it may be that, as Justice Ginsburg has said at the time, we now are going to go back to a time in
which there are states where women have rights and states where they don't, and this is going to be fought out on a state-by-state fashion.
ISAACSON: You have cited polls saying that a large majority when you frame the question as being, should it be up to the woman or should it be up to
the state about whether to have an abortion, come down on the side of the line allowing it to be up to the woman.
But if you phrase that question in a very neutral way, which is, do you tend to be pro-life, do you tend to be prochoice, the country is pretty
How do you make the argument? I mean, do you even get the other side of the argument that maybe people feel that the right to abortion is a bad thing?
RICHARD: Well, I just -- fundamentally, I understand what you're saying. But, you know, I worked for Planned Parenthood for many years. I've had
many conversations with voters, patients, doctors. The question really is not how you personally feel about abortion. Because it is a deeply personal
issue. The question is, who should make that decision?
And, you know, it's interesting. One of the valid initiatives that we have dealt with in when I was at Planned Parenthood was that -- was actually an
abortion ban that went on the ballot in Mississippi. So, where the voters were going to make a decision of whether people who were pregnant should be
able to make their decisions about a pregnancy with their doctor or whoever or should it be to stay.
Overwhelmingly, the voters of Mississippi said it should be the decision by a woman of what to do about her pregnancy. Because I think if you are -- if
you actually talked to people, they do have deeply personal feelings about abortion and maybe about what they think they would do or what they would
hope their daughter would do or whatever their circumstances. But also, they understand that they can't make that decision for every other woman
and they don't want to, and they certainly don't want politicians making that decision.
So, you're right. You can have -- and I think, I guess, the last piece on that is, this binary nomenclature of prolife and prochoice is so outdated
and frankly, irrelevant because this is seen as not a political kind of labeled issue, it is seen as a deeply personal issue. Probably for a lot of
women, the most personal important private decision they'll make in their lifetime, and the last thing we want and the majority of Americans want is
government to be in there making that decision for a woman.
ISAACSON: So, if that's the case, if it's put to the voters to say, who should make the choice, and the voters are going to say, we should allow
the woman to make the choice, why don't you fight it out in referenda and around the country and do it so that we have a political resolution to this
RICHARD: Well, as you know, every state has a different rule on that, but I actually agree with you. I think if this was put to the voters to make
this decision, it would overwhelmingly be clear. But all 50 states have different ways of dealing with this. And so, it's kind of interesting. One
of the points that Justice Kavanaugh made was, which is one of the most disturbing parts of, I thought, the oral arguments on Mississippi was,
well, this issue is so complicated, deciding between women and a fetus. He clearly was not able to make that decision. He felt that was too hard.
So, we should throw it back to the Mississippi legislature, which I'll just let that stand, you know, for one of the most -- if the Supreme Court of
the United States can't figure this out, I'm not sure why he thinks the state legislature in Mississippi or any other state can figure it out.
ISAACSON: But don't state legislatures represent the will of the people in that state eventually?
RICHARD: Not when you come from states like Texas or Mississippi where -- I mean, Texas, our state legislature is so gerrymandering, as you know, I'm
sure you've heard the Justice Department has brought suit again trying to have the lines redrawn because they are drawn to favor the Republican
Party. So, no, they're not representative. And I think probably any woman, any person of color in this country would probably look at their state
legislature with very few exceptions and say, actually, that is not a representative body of the people of our state.
I mean, look, it's only -- I remember the first case I heard before the Supreme Court when I was with Planned Parenthood before the justices and
the only woman on the court was Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And I thought, here is a woman carrying an entire gender on her shoulders because we don't have
equal representation, not in -- neither in the courts, nor in state legislatures. A true vote by the people is a much different thing.
ISAACSON: When you say that they haven't stopped the Texas law, which is true for the moment, but they have agreed to take the case. So, they could
decide in favor of the Mississippi law but against the Texas law. Would that be something that you would consider to be not exactly a victory, but
not exactly the worst loss?
RICHARD: Certainly, anything at this point is better than what we have now. But, Walter, the thing to remember is that this -- the Texas case,
they absolutely could say, we're going to send this back, allow the abortion providers in the state to challenge the law, and because it's so
clearly unconstitutional, we're going to keep it from being in effect until this can work its way through the system. They did not do that. And as you
know, Justice Roberts actually voted with the minority to say, we should actually prevent this law from being in effect until we can deal with the
issues at hand.
That's a very bad sign, Walter. That is essentially saying, now, for potentially months, this law, this unconstitutional law allowing local
citizens to turn in their fellow citizens because they think they have access on what should be a legal right in this country to legal abortion,
that law is in effect today and the consequences are going to be felt over the months ahead.
I actually think it's going to be -- it will be the first-time people in this country, for many folks after Roe to see what it looks like to live in
a country where safe and legal abortion is no longer available. I can't help but point out too that the impact is not going to be felt equally. The
folks already that we're seeing have the least access to health care in Texas. Women that live in rural parts of the state. Women with low incomes.
Young people. Women of color. These are folks who can't get on a plane and fly to California or fly to New York.
And so, again, the burden and the cruelty of this law is going to be felt disproportionately on folks who already have the least access to health
ISAACSON: It's already in effect. Nobody knows better than you how things affect people on the ground because you've been at Planned Parenthood,
you've lived in Texas. Tell me, what is the real impact as we're seeing today of this law on the ground?
RICHARD: I mean, from talking to doctors who are abortion providers, providing safe and legal abortion in Texas, women are coming in, in tears,
women are being turned away because they cannot provide legally the service to which -- you know, which they are entitled. Many women are saying, I
can't leave. I already have children. I'm working. I am not someone who can actually take off a week and go to another state. Women with complicated
pregnancies because, of course, there's no exceptions under this law.
And I think these stories are going to continue to come out. You know, the other thing I fear, and this was what I've always feared if Roe were
overturned, is that, of course, abortion existed before Roe. It's not that we didn't have abortion in the United States of America. It was simply
illegal and unsafe in many parts of the country. And women, if they were determined to have an abortion, often would take things into their own
hands. And I think that's -- those are the stories I fear will come out of Texas. And I know that medical providers are working overtime to try to
keep women safe and keep them from harm's way.
ISAACSON: You've talked about the Texas law and the unusual way it tries to circumvent the court and have an unusual mechanism for working, which is
vigilante, you know, citizens can just sue an abortion provider. Governor Newsom in California said, all right, if you want to play that game, we'll
do that for guns. We'll just allow people to start suing people on gun issues.
Do you think that's an interesting strategy? Is it a strategy you would support? Do you think that that might help change the nature of thought in
Texas about this type of laws?
RICHARD: Well, I mean, I really applaud Governor Newsom for being creative and actually, frankly, just pointing out the -- really insanity of this
idea that somehow as opposed to the state enforcing a law and Justice Roberts said this in his -- you know, when they refused to -- when Supreme
Court refused to intervene in Texas is, you can't, you know, do this sort of evasion of state enforcement by just putting it to the people.
I think it's important that Governor Newsom has raised this so that people can begin to grapple with what would it look like if, in fact, we did have
vigilantes all over the country enforcing all kinds of laws as opposed to having it go through a logical legal process. I don't know that it's going
to -- I don't think it's going to influence the Texas legislature. They seem to be, you know, sort of completely out of bounds. But I hope it
influences the Supreme Court and justices will look at what's happened in Texas and say, this is absolutely not sustainable across the country.
ISAACSON: Cecile Richards, thank you so much for joining us.
RICHARD: Thanks, Walter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And now, we have a special treat with the legendary actor, Kathleen Turner. Known for movies like "Romancing the Stone" and of course,
"Body Heat." Her sultry voice became a character all of its own, famously bringing to life the cartoon character, Jessica Rabbit. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't know how hard it is being a woman, looking the way I do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know how hard it is being a man, looking at a woman looking the way you do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The line that's last the ages. Kathleen Turner is now putting it all out there in her one-woman show, "Kathleen Turner: Finding my Voice,"
where she tells me she meets the story with song to recount her life and illustrious career.
Kathleen Turner, welcome to the program.
KATHLEEN TURNER, STAR, "KATHLEEN TURKER: FINDING MY VOICE": Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, look, you know, your voice is instantly recognizable but you're not necessarily known as a singer, right?
TURNER: Not at all.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you're a great access, you're a great voice actor. Why do this program? Why do this show, this sort of vocal memoir?
TURNER: Well, I was doing "Mother Courage," which is not her musical but it is a play with songs and the character, Mother Curry (ph), has five
songs. And I found in the run of -- in the course of the run that I really, really enjoyed it. So, when the production ended, I decided I wanted to
keep learning. I wanted to keep singing. And this is what came out of it, a show.
AMANPOUR: You know, talk about your youth a little bit and what brought you on this journey, which you talk about in the show. So, you were the
daughter of a foreign service officer, a diplomat, and you grew up in places varied as London, Cuba, Venezuela, et cetera. What was it like
growing up there? I guess, what was it like and what sort of paving stones for your future did it lay?
TURNER: Well, I loved it, frankly. I always thought that if I was not successful as an actor, I would -- that would be my choice of profession. I
suppose exposure, more than anything, to the world, to languages, to other thoughts, to -- oh, my gosh.
My father used to say that, if you have only one language, you have only one way of thinking, and I agree with that. So, all the exposure to other
cultures, to other ideas, to other words and interpretations, I think, was invaluable.
AMANPOUR: And there are some pretty interesting places, as I mentioned, Cuba, and there's a great anecdote that you tell in this show that you're
doing. And your mom asked you one day when you came home from school, how was your day at school, and this was your response. We're going to play
this bit from your show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TURNER: Castro loves me. She said, what? I said, yes, yes. The teacher said, close your eyes, and pray to God for candy. Open your eyes. There is
no candy. Close your eyes and pray to Castro for candy. Open your eyes. There is candy. Who loves you, God or Castro? That was the last day we went
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Honestly, that is just a superb anecdote and the way you deliver it is great and clearly resonates. I mean, your mom and your dad presumably
were astounded, you know, by that kind of education you were getting at that school.
TURNER: Well, it was -- what was astounding and looking back, of course, is how young they started this kind of indoctrination.
AMANPOUR: And then, you went on, I mean, not from there in a direct line, but you went on to become an actress. And I'm fascinated, again, by the way
you describe in the show, your first major breakout role, which was "Body Heat." I think that was 1981. You were a waitress in a restaurant at the
TURNER: It was 40 years ago.
AMANPOUR: Tell me about that.
TURNER: Well, as I say, it was 40 years ago. It's the anniversary this year. Yes, I was. I was working as a waitress on the Upper West Side. And
when the filming ended, I was broke because I was trying to keep an apartment in New York and I had to get one in L.A. And so, I went back to
the restaurant and asked if I could have my job back. And in fact -- so, I did. I went back to work there until the film came out.
AMANPOUR: And then, what was the reaction when the film came out? I mean, did they have any idea exactly who was their waitress?
TURNER: No. Oh, no. Well, I think that we were a good group, as I recall, you know. But, no, they -- when they asked the title of the film and I told
them, "Body Heat," they all thought it was probably a porno film. Yes.
AMANPOUR: I'm going to play a little clip, the only one we have and is available to us, but it kind of sums up a little bit of the relationship
between you, your character, and your co-star, William Hurt's character.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TURNER: I'm a married woman.
WILLIAM HURT, ACTOR, "BODY HEAT": Meaning what?
TURNER: Meaning, I'm not looking for company.
HURT: Then you should have said, I'm a happily married woman.
TURNER: That's my business.
TURNER: How happy I am.
HURT: And how happy is that?
TURNER: You're not too smart, are you? I like that in a man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, that is fantastic. That's such a good kicker line.
TURNER: Yes, it is. And it hasn't changed. No.
AMANPOUR: But what did it do to you as you were only 27. It was your first major film and that there you were launched with this very sexualized part.
What did it do to you when you came to audition for other films? What did it do to you in terms of how the rest of the world and your co-stars,
particularly your male co-stars looked at you?
TURNER: I had a great deal of pressure to do sort of, what, "Body Heat 2, Body Heat 3," you know, similar or derivative films, which I -- which did
not interest me in the least. And I was aware that I'm thinking I was and I do think of my career, which I now have 43 years professionally as a
lifelong commitment, a lifelong profession.
So, in order to do that, I knew I could not be typecast and I had to keep my chops in on stage. Since as I got older, some of the greatest roles of
women are on stage. So, my next move was to audition for the man with two brains, Carl Reiner and Steve Martin, to show people I could be funny. And
once I had proven that, then I wanted to audition for Romancing the Stone," and they -- Joan, the adventurous. And there were serious doubts whether or
not I could be shy and insecure. So, I had to show that. And I just -- you know, you kept thinking, oh, come on guys. It's called acting.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. And I just want to -- because it's so revealing of the way, I guess, you know, attitudes were back then, you recount that Michael
Douglas, in later films, basically ended up telling you that he, Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty, had a bet after "Body Heat" on who could "get
you first." I mean, that's a little out there.
TURNER: Well, it was not unusual, I think, for Hollywood and in that time in the '80s, I guess. I -- let me inform you that none of them did, just to
be clear. But, yes. Yes. I found out there was a kind of competition going on.
AMANPOUR: So, let's talk about what you then talked about, you know, in terms of the next great things for women who aged and it was, you know,
stage. And you had a very important role as Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate." You were, if I'm not mistaken -- how old were you, 37, at that
TURNER: Oh, no. No, no, no, no.
AMANPOUR: How old were you?
TURNER: Forty-eight., when I was on Broadway. 46 --
TURNER: Yes. Forty-six when we did it in London. Yes. Yes.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, how do you have the (INAUDIBLE) to strip naked for a period of several many seconds on stage?
TURNER: Many seconds.
AMANPOUR: Tell me about that. Or rather on stage.
TURNER: On stage. Yes. On stage is more frightening, let me tell you. I'll tell you what. You know, we developed it in London, Terry, who wrote and
directed it, Terry Johnson. He actually said to me, if I had an alternative to nudity, if it was something else, I felt would have the impact that
being nude would, he would consider it. But I couldn't think of anything, you know, that would really deliver that kind of punch.
But when we finished the run in London, which was amazingly successful, and they said, well, we'll go to Broadway. I said, no. No. Americans are so
screwed up over sex. It was so hypocritical. I don't need this. So, I took off and did a one woman play based on (INAUDIBLE). Now, when I was on tour
with that show, I received the script that described the woman as 37, but still attractive. And that made me so angry. I called up the British
producer and I said, hey, we're going to Broadway.
AMANPOUR: And how was your nudity received?
TURNER: Well, I think it was a big -- you know, as I anticipated from an American audience, it was a big deal. You know, it was as big -- I don't
know. There were -- from women, I got extraordinary response. Letters talking about how glad they were to see a woman of my age, you know, still
was viable and attractive. And one letter, I'll never forget, she wrote that she had not undressed in front of her husband in 10 years, and she was
going to tonight, which is great.
AMANPOUR: It's a really great story. It's very empowering. So, I want to ask you about something that, for a long period of time, was sort of
disempowering for you and that was when you discovered you had rheumatoid arthritis and it caused such immense pain and it caused you to overdrink
for a period of time --
TURNER: Yes, I did. Yes.
AMANPOUR: -- to take away the pain. And you went into a terrible spiral. How did you come out of that, both the illness, which I know you still
have, but how were you able to manage it and also to come out of alcoholism?
TURNER: Well, the alcohol was a great painkiller, you know, we know that over the centuries. Anyway, the medications improved, I will say that. And
I think just mentally, I was able, finally, to say, all right. To accept it. To say, this is my life and this will be my life now for -- I mean,
there is no cure. It is a constant battle. It will always be a battle. But the alcohol was not helping anything other than the pain. It was also a
depressant. It took me away from my daughter, and I just decided to stop, you know.
AMANPOUR: And your career is still blooming. But I want to ask you one last question. You also talk in the show about public service and you
believe every young person, you know, these days needs to do some kind of public service, whether it's meals on wheels, whether it's -- whatever it
might be. And you talk about, you know, a favorite journalist of yours who was a great friend of a favorite politician of yours, that's the author,
Molly Ivins, who was a great friend of the great Texas governor, Ann Richard.
AMANPOUR: You have a little bit from one of your plays in which you talk, and you are Molly Ivins. Just read that little bit.
TURNER: Oh, I know. I know the quote you want. Yes. And this is in the show. She says, beloved, these are some bad ugly angry times. And I am so
freaked out. Hatred has stolen the conversation. The poor are now but against themselves, but politics is not about left or right. It's about up
and down. The few screwing the many. I love it.
AMANPOUR: It's very profound and it's an interesting way -- I love it too, actually. It's an interesting way to end this conversation. With your art,
with your work. You know, you address it in one way. How do you think that, that you just read, you know, is going to change with the, as you say or as
Molly Ivins said, the few screwing the many?
TURNER: Well, this is indeed some, I am freaked out by what's going on today in this country. The voting rights, the redistricting, the attack on
women's choice, the -- oh, heavens to Betsy. It's almost too much. It is certainly extremely worrisome. I don't know. I mean, part of me wants to
keep fighting, which I will, and part of me is just despondent.
AMANPOUR: Well, anybody going to see "Finding my Voice" will not leave despondent.
Kathleen Turner, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
TURNER: It's a pleasure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: She is a powerhouse and she'll be performing her one woman show at the Manhattan Town Hall on the 16th, December 16th.
Finally, tonight, finding a little light in the darkness. Copenhagen's canals were lit up by 700 brightly colored kayaks on Monday evening. The
glittering parade floated through Denmark's capital celebrating St. Lucia's Day, the official start of the Christmas season. The procession of light
dates back to third century Italy and has been giving generations of onlookers hope and joy ahead of a long Scandinavian winter.
And that's it for now. Good-bye from London and thank you for watching.