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Interview with LSE Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Chair and "The Economics of Climate Change" Author Nicholas Stern; Interview with London School of Economics Professor of International Relations and "What Really Went Wrong" Author Fawaz Gerges; Interview with Attorney Representing Kate Cox and Center for Reproductive Rights Senior Staff Attorney Molly Duane; Interview with Republican Strategist and Mair Strategies President Liz Mair. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired December 13, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
A major new climate deal is struck in Dubai. Is it all hot air or will it really make a difference? I ask climate expert Lord Nicholas Stern.
And Biden delivers his harshest criticism yet of Israel's Gaza war. I get insight on the region from scholar Fawaz Gerges.
Then, Texas denied Kate Cox an abortion even with a fatal diagnosis for the fetus. I speak to her attorney.
And then, GOP politics on this issue, Republican strategist Liz Mayer talks to Michel Martin.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SULTAN AL JABER, COP28 PRESIDENT: I must say that you did it. You delivered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Cheers and hugs in Dubai today for a new major climate deal. One that supporters say marks the beginning of the end of fossil fuels. Nearly
200 countries agreed for the first time ever to transition away from oil, coal and gas and move closer to the goal of achieving net zero by 2050.
It's the end of two weeks of intense negotiations at the U.N. Climate Summit known as COP28.
But not all parties are happy, because it doesn't actually call for phasing out fossil fuels. Island nations complained that it could be a death knell
for them, and climate activists called the deal, which is not legally binding, woefully insufficient, claiming that it lets the fossil fuel
industry off the hook.
Here now with a verdict is the expert, Lord Nicholas Stern, a longtime climate scholar and author of a landmark report on the issue for the
British government. Lord Nicholas Stern, welcome back to our program.
So, we've talked throughout the years about what needs to be done. We've talked over various COPs about this. Can you just sum up in a word,
everybody was worried until the last-minute thinking that these negotiations weren't going to actually happen in a way that was, you know,
exemplary. What do you think they've come up with?
NICHOLAS STERN, CHAIR, GRANTHAM RESEARCH INSTITUTE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT, LSE AND AUTHOR, "THE ECONOMICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE": I
think it's a pretty good agreement. I think many of us would have liked it to be stronger in key areas such as, you know, phasing out of unabated
fossil fuel with kind of language I would have preferred. But it's clear they couldn't get that through.
But on the other hand, I think the kind of language that you spoke about, that you described at the beginning, Christiane, which was transitioning
away from fossil fuels and energy systems. Accelerating action in this critical decade so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the
science. That's a pretty clear steer of direction.
Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and it's now challenged the countries to really step up and do the investment that's
necessary to bring down the emissions. And that means investing in the new and the green and the clean in order to be able to run down the old and the
AMANPOUR: OK. That's a really good way of putting it, but cynics would say this is all kind of aspirational. Yes, that word transitioning away, et
cetera, was new, but a lot of what's left in the communique is aspirational and it sounds very much like, you know, what we heard coming out of the
last two COPs, et cetera, in terms of it's -- you know, where are the deadlines? Where are the markers? Where are the -- you know, the holding
governments or industries to account?
Do you see anything here that actually forces these stakeholders to do this work?
STERN: There's no police force from Mars that's going to enforce this. The whole design of these systems was to set targets, set directions, and then
it's up to the countries to describe how they're going to deliver, and then, of course, actually do what they've described.
So, that is the way this works. Without that, you wouldn't have got the agreement. But it is actually remarkable how far we've come since the Paris
Agreement, it was the first, that was 2015, COP21, was the first to set that direction.
And what we've seen now is that at the time of Paris, we were probably heading at the end of this century for something close to 4 degrees. And
now, after Paris, we're probably heading for something which is 2.5 to 3 degrees, although lower if people deliver on what they've said. And I think
this agreement could allow us to bring that down considerably.
So, stating those senses of direction have actually led, I think, to the big falls in cost of solar and wind and batteries. The clean is cheaper
than the dirty across about 30 percent of emissions. And that percentage is growing. It will probably be 70 percent in the early 2030s.
I don't think that would have happened without the sense of direction which these kinds of agreements deliver. But enforcement is not there. We have to
be clear about that. And the political processes have to work to put pressure to deliver. And the private sector, I think, is increasingly
showing that these are very good investments provided the obstacles to those investments are removed and the cost of capital is sufficiently
AMANPOUR: OK. Let's just take some of these separately then. The political will and, you know, direction of travel has to be clear. But as you know,
in the U.K., back in Glasgow, COP26, 2021 then, approved, you know, to phase down coal fired power plants. But Britain, this country, your
country, approved a new coal mine just a year later. And now, there's, you know, approving, I think, drilling off the North Sea and stuff like that.
It appears to be backsliding from this country itself, which hosted -- you know, Great Britain hosted a COP. How can we take, you know, these -- how
can people who are so worried about the climate, and we've just witnessed what may end up being, well, so far, it's said to be the hottest year on
record, how can we take it seriously when we see, you know, things rolling backwards and governments reneging on pledges and speaking out of two sides
of their mouth?
STERN: I think the approval of the coal mine in the northwest of England, I think the permissions for extra exploration drilling in the North Sea,
which we've had over these last months or since COP26, is a very serious mistake, and it has damaged, quite rightly and understandably, the U.K.'s
reputation as a climate leader in the world.
Vacillating and backsliding, it makes people more uncertain about the returns to the investment in the new and the clean, and that increases the
cost of capital.
What we've seen from this government over this last month -- over these last months and including that coal mine decision last year, I think is a
real problem and we have to call it out. I have called it out in the house of lords and elsewhere. And I hope that future governments will reverse
that. They should.
AMANPOUR: Lord Stern, this from Britain, which claims to be a climate pioneer and a real climate partner for the world. So, if Britain is doing
this, and you say it has to be called out and it's a mistake, what hope can there be for actual OPEC countries to do what they need to do?
Again, no pressure on them at this final communique. And we know that they actively tried to intervene in the negotiations. Saudi Arabia and oil and
gas companies argued that the talks should focus on emissions instead of fossil fuels. Let me just read a little from the FT editorial today. You
know, it said OPEC didn't get its way. Here we go. "The outcome is very far from perfect. It is better than feared, but less than needed. It bows too
much to the forces of international diplomacy, and too little to the immovable realities of science. The oil cartel, OPEC, did not in the end
get its way, though nor did nations seeking a stronger agreement.
We've talked a little bit about the sort of blurring around the edges. But there were thousands, metric ton loads of fossil fuel industry lobbyists
there. They vast out -- vastly outnumbered climate activists, and it's a concern. I mean, it's a real concern.
STERN: I think the FT editorial got it about right, Christiane. And what it tells us is that you can make progress, but you have to keep up the
pressure and you have to be vigilant.
And I think OPEC did push back and they didn't push back quite as successfully as they would have hoped. I don't think there were more oil
lobbyists than climate activists, but there were too many oil and gas lobbyists, probably 2,000 or 3,000 of them relative to probably tens of
thousands of climate activists. But that's not a crucial point.
The oil and gas lobbyists are pretty effective. But interestingly, not as effective probably as they would have hoped for. So, I think that FT
editorial is about right.
We will probably peak emissions as a world in this next couple of years. We will probably peak all of oil, gas, and coal before 2030. So, there is
momentum to build on.
In China, 30 percent of the cars being sold each year are already electric. They're investing at least 200 gigawatts in renewables every year in China
compare that with the 80 gigawatts total capacity in the U.K. India is moving very strongly, most of the two and three wheelers sold in India now
So, we should recognize that there's real progress, but the important thing is it's nowhere near fast enough. And I think this agreement will help us
pick up pace, but it's not a substitute for the political pressure. It's not a substitute for the private sector showing that this really is the
biggest investment opportunities since the industrial revolution as the deputy chair of BlackRock called it.
So, I think with political pressure with the private sector showing that there are enormous valuable investment opportunities here, then I think we
can make progress. There is no doubt that we're not going fast enough, that we have to accelerate, and I think this agreement is a help in that
direction, but it's not automatic delivery.
AMANPOUR: I want to, you know, reverse the tape, if you like, rewrite the tape to 2015 and the Paris Agreement. Christiana Figueres was the U.N.
climate chief, and she was responsible for wrangling everybody together, and there was a lot of goodwill, obviously, because there was massive
breakthroughs in Paris. afterwards, she expressed a lot of optimism for the future. We are now in the future, eight years later. But let's listen to
what she said eight years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, THEN-U.N. CLIMATE CHIEF: The world is ready to embrace the technologies of this century. The technologies that are going
to take us into a much more prosperous, safer world, more stable world with more jobs, with better health, with much better infrastructure and with
much more energy available and easily accessible to the 1.3 billion people who are currently unelectrified. So, we're standing here on the brink of a
whole new world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, she's a very optimistic person and that was a huge gateway to hope. Everybody was very, very optimistic after Paris. How much of that
has come true really? You've talked on what she talked about, the investment, you know, the energy in the -- well, I don't mean the word
energy, but you know, the excitement in the private sector, the financials of it.
How much are they really thinking that this a massive opportunity? How much money are they spending on this?
STERN: Well, the -- most of -- the majority now of the capacity built for electricity is in zero carbon. It's in renewables in large measure, some
nuclear. So, it's already the case that the majority of investment is not in the dirty technologies of the last century. And in that case,
Christiana's looking ahead, was roughly right.
If you look at the cost of solar, it's come down in the last 10 years or so, in more or less in the nearly decayed since Paris. It's come down by a
factor of eight, nine or 10. It's been divided, you know, so that the new is already cheaper than the old for most of the power sector. The new and
the clean is cheaper than the old already for essentially electric vehicles, if you look at the cost over their lifetime.
So, we have made big progress. Oil, gas and coal will be peaking in this decade. But don't get me wrong, it is nowhere near fast enough. Peaking is
nowhere near enough. We have to really not just have a turning point, which says, you know, it starts to go down, we need a tipping point on emissions.
So, it really goes down very rapidly. And that is the political and economic challenge that we face.
But we do have to recognize that this a growth story. This the growth story of the 21st century. These investments we're talking about will give lower
cost energy. They will give clear cleaner air and stop killing people on a massive scale, which is what happens from air pollution. They will be in
the areas with strong innovation.
Energy efficiency will be much stronger. This a part of the agreement and efficiency is productivity is growth. So much of this a growth story, but
you've got to invest to get it. And so, the challenge is creating the conditions where that investment can take place. We're close to doing that,
but we are not there yet. And I think this agreement will help accelerate the whole investment process and help realize this new growth story where
we have cities where we can move and breathe and ecosystems which are robust and fruitful.
It won't be easy. It involves a lot of investment, but I hope that we'll accelerate now and this agreement will help it along.
AMANPOUR: And finally, just your verdict on the fact that this happened in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, the energy producing -- very
significant energy producing environment, and, you know, the Emirati official oil executive who presided over this, also the president of COP28,
you know, was pretty much under the microscope. I think there are a lot of cynicism about what he would deliver.
So, your verdict on how he handled COP and is there -- the fact that it came from that kind of nation, does it put an extra impetus for those
nations and those industries to step up?
STERN: I think it helped that it came from the Emiratis, which of course are a major oil and gas power. I've known Dr. Sultan for about 15 years.
And the way I got to know him is he invited me to Mazda, which is their clean city in the Emirates. And he took me around there personally, and
that was about 15 years ago.
So, his commitment to the low carbon, to the sustainable, to the clean is longstanding. But at the same time, he's also the chair -- the head of the
oil company of the UAE, with Abu Dhabi, which is you know, one of the biggest oil companies in the world. So, both those elements are there.
But I think we have to recognize that his commitment to net zero, his commitment to staying below 1.5, if at all possible, is genuine. And I
think that in the end, it probably helped that that was his background. It made it somewhat easier. I didn't know this in advance for sure, but it
made it somewhat easier for him to stand up to the pressures from oil and gas, which were clearly there.
STERN: But I think we have to regard his leadership as being of real value.
AMANPOUR: Lord Nicholas Stern, thank you so much indeed.
Now, to Israel, whose war in Gaza will carry on with or without international support. Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said today, this after
biting words from chief ally President Biden, who, for the first time ever, said Israel is starting to lose global support by the "indiscriminate
bombings." And the United Nations General Assembly voting overwhelmingly to demand an immediate ceasefire.
Israel's long-term strategy for the future remains unclear, including the fate of Gaza's governance and a political process when the guns finally
I recently spoke to Fawaz Gerges, author of the forthcoming book, "What Really Went Wrong: The West and the Failure of Democracy in the Middle
East." And I began by asking him about the massive death toll amongst Palestinians in Gaza and the Hamas slaughter of Israeli civilians on
October the 7th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND AUTHOR, "WHAT REALLY WENT WRONG": Christiane, no one is
saying we should minimize the hurt and the pain and the suffering of the Israeli civilians who were killed on the 7th of October. That's a question
that the United Nations, almost everyone, with the exception of a few people.
But the question that the American people should realize, should really contemplate, reflect on, does what happened on 7th of October justifies the
killing of Palestinian civilians? Does what happened on the 7th of October justify the killings of more than 7,000 children? There is no safe place in
Gaza. You have 1.9 million people in Gaza, out of 2.2 have become displaced.
AMANPOUR: So, can I ask you, how is it that this catastrophe was able to happen? Is there -- I mean obviously Hamas committed it.
AMANPOUR: But did the U.S. take its eye off the ball?
GERGES: Let me be direct. Biden's foreign policy does not differ very much from Trump's foreign policy. For the past two years this administration has
not made any major investment in either trying to stop the building of a Jewish settlement, or even to try to really bring about the establishment
of a Palestinian State.
And that's why not only the United States committed major strategic blunders, in the region, I'm talking about the region, not me, in the
region this seen as Biden's war. It's not just Benjamin Netanyahu's war, this Biden's wars, and it is.
AMANPOUR: So, the United States, you're basically saying, and we've observed, thought that it could, A, take its eye off the Palestinian ball
and outsource that to these normalization deals between Israel and the Arab countries, with which it's not at war, and the same you could say for the
Arab countries. What has Saudi Arabia done or the UAE done?
So, what do you think the U.S. should do now? What is it -- what is this saying? And what should the Arab leaders do?
GERGES: Christiane, anyone who's interested in peace in the Holy Land, anyone, should recognize that the so-called two-state solution that the
United States has been talking about, has been really paying lip service, has not really produced anything.
In fact, while the United States has been talking about a two-state solution, what has been happening on the ground, Christiane? You have now
almost 1 million settlers, 1 million, who live in occupied Palestinian land on the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel was in a race -- is in a race against time to steal Palestinian land, to colonize the land. So, in fact, the talk about the two-state
solution has brought about the consolidation of Israel's military occupation. And guess what, the undermining and the weakening of a
AMANPOUR: So, what happens now? They do want to ask you this. Many who support Palestinian statehood are also shocked. They believe Hamas not only
created the most depraved attack on civilians we've seen for a long, long time, I mean deliberate rapes, deliberate shooting in the genitals,
killings of children, kidnappings of old people, Holocaust survivors, and civilians. The very civilians who actually care about the Palestinians,
those who were in the Kibbutz, et cetera.
Has Hamas finally and fatally miscalculated? Because I know you and others says that in a reestablished P.A., Palestinian Authority, Hamas has to have
a voice. But do they have the moral authority anymore? Are they really a resistance movement or have they tipped over the line?
GERGES: I heard, I mean, the moral and ethical question is at stake, right, as you've just said. Can we suspend the moral, I mean, angle for a
second, just for a second and see what Hamas has done? Just for a second, from a geostrategic perspective, as a realist, trying to understand what
did Hamas do on the 7th of October, you're absolutely correct.
It killed a lot of civilians, almost 900 civilians, and --
AMANPOUR: The rest were soldiers. They have 1,200 dead.
GERGES: And this -- it should not have happened, period. Killing civilians, even though Israel has been killing Palestinians for years. In
one stroke, Hamas has shattered the false security of Israel. Hamas has shattered the status quo in one stroke.
GERGES: Hamas, in one stroke, has put Palestine on the region and the international agenda.
AMANPOUR: I covered Bosnia.
AMANPOUR: I saw what the Serbs did to the Bosnian Muslims. I know the difference between a war and a massacre of civilians. I know what this
means. And I'm also asking, because this what -- you know, this what asking. If the Palestinians really want a leadership that can engage with
the rest of the world, has Hamas not put itself out of the calling, out of the bidding?
GERGES: What the Palestinians want, as I know a bit about the Palestinians, the Palestinian wants the end of Israeli occupation. The
Palestinian wants freedom. The Palestinians want dignity. The Palestinians want emancipation. The Palestinians wants the end of Israeli occupation.
If you ask me now, who speaks for the Palestinians? And it's sad to say it, Hamas now speaks for the Palestinians.
GERGES: Hamas now is the -- speaks for Palestinian's aspiration for emancipation.
AMANPOUR: But, Fawaz, you know, there were a lot of protests against Hamas before October 7th.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, of course, absolutely. I mean, because Hamas has -- did mismanage governance in Gaza. Hamas was not really very popular. Hamas is
more of a Palestinian Islamic resistance movement. It doesn't really know how to govern. It didn't govern very well, but what I'm saying, what has
happened in the past few months.
The fact that Hamas attacked Israel on the 7th of October is the first Palestinian movement that stood up to Israel's occupation, that bloodied
the nose of Israel, even though it should not have killed, I mean, the civilians, we know that. This not just Hamas, even though the killing of
civilians is on both sides, one wrong does not make right. But when we talk about violence, Israel has mastered the art of political violence.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you -- just let's broaden it out a little bit, because everybody's trying to figure out almost -- I mean, the day after. Who knows
when the day after will be? We've also seen Arab states, A, try to make peace and normalize with the Israel that you're describing. They, frankly,
putting the Palestinians, you know, as an afterthought or no thought at all. Surely the governments of the Arab states also have to step up and try
to figure out a solution.
GERGES: Well, the Arab states want really a two-state solution. The Arab states want the United States to lead the effort because Israel does not
listen to anyone else except the United States. And most of the Arab states are allies of the United States. They're dependent on the United States, on
its military support, on its economic support.
The reason why Gaza is important in the region (ph) -- forget me as a scholar, as an academic, Gaza now, Christiane, in every home, in every
village, in every hamlet, in every street throughout the Middle East, in Morocco, in Algeria, in Iraq, in Egypt, people are angry. And that's why
Arab regimes are terrified. They're terrified that their stability is at stake, and they're all reliant on the United States.
And the United States, we know what the position of the United States. I mean, they are bagging the United States. They have basically are bagging
the United States to basically accept a ceasefire. President Biden said, use veto in the United -- in the Security Council against a, what do you do
if the most powerful nation on earth said, no ceasefire? You have a green light.
AMANPOUR: This, again, is business as usual.
AMANPOUR: You know that.
AMANPOUR: All these years there have been exactly this dynamic.
AMANPOUR: How does it realign? How does it all fall out?
GERGES: I think there is a bigger question for me as a student of the region. And the bigger question is, to what extent what Israel has been
doing in Gaza deepen its existential crisis in the region? Can Israel ever be at peace with itself and its neighborhood? Will Israel ever be
integrated into the region?
And I'm not talking about top down with the Arab autocrats, I'm talking about society, society to society. And that's why what Americans and
Israeli leaders are not really thinking about, the idea that somehow Israel can destroy or approve Hamas is more wishful thinking.
In fact, my fear is that Hamas is break -- Israel is breaking Gaza. Israel will own Gaza. Gaza will come to haunt Israel for many years to come. In
the same way that Iraq haunted the United States after the U.S. occupation.
AMANPOUR: Fawaz Gerges, thank you very much, indeed, for being with us.
GERGES: Thanks for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A major new development in America's legal battle over abortion today. The Supreme Court agreed to consider whether to next restrict access
to a widely used abortion pill. Since Roe vs. Wade was overturned by the conservative majority last year, the number of women using them rose
So, what impact does all this legal haggling have on American women? For that, we turn to Texas and to the case of Kate Cox, who tried to win a
legal exception to her state's draconian ban on the basis that her pregnancy, her fetus is diagnosed with a fatal condition also threatens her
own life and her health. Here she is speaking about her trauma with NBC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE COX, CHALLENGING TEXAS ABORTION LAW: Still, we're going through the loss of a child. There's no outcome here that I take home my healthy baby
girl, you know. So, it's hard, you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The State Supreme Court ruled against Cox, who was ultimately forced to leave Texas for an abortion procedure. Attorney Molly Duane
represents her and she's joining me now from New York. Molly Duane, welcome to the program.
Before we get to the specific case of your client, and this indeed may affect her or others like her in the future, what do you make and what do
you think is going to happen now that the Supreme Court says it wants to take on the medical, you know, abortion process?
MOLLY DUANE, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING KATE COX AND SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Well, I just want to talk about what these
two cases have in common. Kate Cox's and the U.S. Supreme Court taking up this case. And that is that politicians and courts are trying to
micromanage the healthcare that patients are receiving from their doctors.
In Kate's case, quite obviously, her health was at risk. She acknowledged that. She was told that due to two prior C sections, continuing a pregnancy
which was doomed to end in stillbirth, or at most, a child that would live for minutes, hours, or days, she was told that continuing that pregnancy
put her future fertility at risk.
And instead of listening to her doctor, the attorney general of Texas, the highest law official in the state, directly threatened her doctor, her
family, hospitals, and the medical profession in general. And that itself is stunning.
Now, you look at the U.S. Supreme Court and what it did today. And again, we are talking about a widely available medication abortion that is
available nationwide, which has been used for decades safely and which the FDA has approved, and we have here anti-abortion advocates and courts
stepping in to say, we don't care how you or your doctor choose to practice -- to experience your medical facilities, we want to intervene and tell you
what to do.
And that is something that I think people really need to understand because this ruling would apply nationwide and it would impact the way that women
and pregnant people are able to access medication abortion and it would have devastating effects across the country.
AMANPOUR: Well, we wait to see how that, you know, develops in the court. How is your client? And given the risks, what motivated her, while
pregnant, to actually start this legal battle? And where does it stand now?
DUANE: Well, I want to rewind the clock a little bit for your viewers and think about what the last two weeks of Kate Cox's life have been like. And
what we have is that the same day that we were arguing the Zurawski case in the Texas Supreme Court, which is seeking to clarify what the medical
exception to the state's abortion bans mean, if in fact it means anything is that Ms. Cox received the worst news of her life, which was that
confirming prior testing, she was told that her baby had trisomy 18 and would never become a sibling for her two older children.
She then reached out to a lawyer. She filed a lawsuit. She had a court say, yes, indeed, your abortion is medically necessary and should proceed. Then
she saw the attorney general threatening her, her family, and her doctors. Then the Texas Supreme Court putting that order on hold. And then, three
agonizing days while she waited to hear more from the Texas Supreme Court about whether or not the healthcare that she so desperately needed, which
in this case was an abortion would be able to proceed.
And if you think about it, a week is a very short time for a court, but it's a very long time for a real person in the middle of a medical
emergency. And so, she has been very resilient through this whole process, but I just want folks to put themselves in her shoes and think about how
they would feel if politicians in their state were micromanaging the decisions that their doctors were making.
AMANPOUR: So, has she had the procedure? Are you able to say?
DUANE: I don't want to speak in detail about --
DUANE: -- Ms. Cox's health care just for her own safety and the safety of her physicians. But I tell you that she is doing well. She has been so
encouraged, as have I as her attorney and her whole legal team to see the outpouring of support from people across the country and really across the
world saying, you know, we agree with you, Kate. What happened to you is a human rights violation.
And I'm really just focused on making sure that she is safe, that she is healthy, and that what happened to her doesn't continue to happen to other
people across this country.
AMANPOUR: So, Molly Duane, let me just ask you this, because you raise the issue of the attorney general having denied and reversed what the court
gave her, which was the agreement that she had a life-threatening issue, that they accepted her doctor's, you know, confirmation of that matter. And
he reversed that.
I mean, if the state gives you the right, they put that exemption in a very draconian almost total ban in Texas, and the attorney general doesn't
accept it, what legal sense does that actually make, based on what exactly? And a companion question is, given the vigilante laws in Texas, which
apparently can sentence a so-called collaborator in abortion, i.e., a husband or a driver or a doctor or whatever, to 99 years and a massive
fine. How safe is Kate and her husband right now? Can they return to Texas?
DUANE: There's a lot to unpack here. So, let me take it one at a time. I mean, the first thing that I want to emphasize is that if Kate doesn't
qualify for an abortion under the exceptions, then who does? And I think that's really important for people to understand.
Abortion exceptions in these bans are not functioning the way that people might be assuming that they are. You truly have to be at death's door
before you are eligible for an abortion, and that is not a reasonable or practical or humane way to practice medicine. So, that's the first thing.
The second is that, you know, we are talking about extreme penalties. As you say, life in prison loss of medical license, and hundreds of thousands
of dollars in fines for the doctor. And that is why physicians are so terrified to rely on these exceptions, when, you know, what we have here is
instead of Kate's doctor being able to practice medicine, we have the attorney general second-guessing her doctor's judgment and saying, no, no,
we don't think Kate is sick enough.
But as to the safety of Kate and her family, I do want to emphasize that there is a lot of fear mongering, you know, on the part of the attorney
general and other politicians in the state about the vigilante law in Texas. And what is clear to me as a lawyer is that Kate and her family are
not at risk from traveling out of state. And that is because Texas can't say to Colorado or Massachusetts or California that they get to control
what is legal in their barriers.
So, we are confident that the attorney general is not going to come after Kate and her family. But we do want to emphasize just how disastrous this
for women, for families, for pregnant people across the country and their doctors who are saying in one voice, we are in crisis.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Well, you -- this case really frames that incredibly. Molly Duane, thank you very much indeed.
And as we said, abortion has been central to American politics ever since Roe vs. Wade gave women the right to choose back in 1973. And the Supreme
Court overturning it will be a major issue in the 2024 presidential election.
Liz Mair is a GOP strategist and she joins Michel Martin to discuss the fallout for Republicans at the ballot box.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Liz Mair, thanks so much for talking with us.
LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND PRESIDENT, MAIR STRATEGIES: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
MARTIN: So, your piece for "The Times" was titled, "Republicans Are Finding Out That Pro-Life Means a Lot of Things to a Lot of People." Did
they really not know?
MAIR: I think they really genuinely didn't know. I've always considered myself to be in sort of a lucky position because the way that I entered
Republican politics was through the blogosphere, which inherently meant that basically for the first two years that I was working in GOP politics,
I was getting paid to pretty much just like argue policy with people online all day in comment sections and diaries and posts and counter posts and
counter points and op-eds and whatnot.
And so, I feel like going back to 2006 and 2007, I knew, because I had a lot of debates with people where I would present myself as being, I am a
moderately pro-choice Republican. I don't believe Roe is correctly decided, but I believe it should be legal in the first three months. I don't see
another alternative to that.
And I found it really interesting that immediately when I introduced myself that way, some people would be like, oh, well, then you're actually pro-
life, or other people would say, oh, my God, you're a heathen, like, all of it needs to be banned from day one, or you would have other people who are
like, how can you be anti-Roe? And I'm still pro-life on everything else, but I'm pro-Roe.
And so, to me, it's been very evident for many, many years now that what Republicans have treated as pro-life was largely a collection of people who
didn't think, for the most part, that Roe was correctly decided, but they didn't actually necessarily agree on what the underlying policy should be.
And now, that we no longer have Roe on the books as good law, we're having to confront that, and it turns out that it's very uncomfortable for the
party and we're finding out that the common denominator is, I think, significantly more abortion friendly than what a lot of Republicans had
thought and had hoped for and are comfortable with.
MARTIN: You say you're moderately pro-choice, but you're anti-Roe, what does that mean?
MAIR: Well, I think Roe was incorrectly decided, and that goes back really when I was in high school. I went to a school that put a lot of emphasis on
civics education and they made us do constitutional debates. And as somebody who was at that time, I believe 15. So, I'd gone through the
experience of having friends getting pregnant a couple of years before and having terminations. I was excited when I got to be on the pro-Roe team.
The problem came when I actually went and read the decision and then read counterarguments to it, legal counterarguments, not things that were what's
alive, what's not alive, at what point does life exist? How do we measure that? Just straight legal arguments. I just thought that the decision
really was badly written up and made very little sense from a constitutional basis.
And so, you know, being somebody who ultimately did go on to become a lawyer, my view has always been that Roe was incorrectly decided. But I
also think that for -- specifically thinking about the kinds of situations that my friends were confronting, I don't know how you legislate to ensure
that people in those situations can have abortions unless you have a policy like the one that I guess I would say, I think most states would be well
advised to adopt, which is keep it legal in the first three months and stop it after that, with exceptions where the life of the mother is in jeopardy,
But even that is significantly more pro-life than what it turns out a bunch of people who have been describing themselves as pro-lifers have had as a
position for years and years. That's what we're learning.
MARTIN: And what is that? What is that position that you're saying that kind of surprises you?
MAIR: Well, I guess what I'm surprised to learn is when you look at the results of what happened in Ohio, or you look at various election results
in Kentucky, and I talk to people, I'm finding that there are quite a lot of people who have traditionally described themselves as being pro-life
Republicans who basically think you can cut it off after about month five, except where the mother's life is in jeopardy or where there's rape or
incest. But that's significantly more sort of lacks and accepting of keeping abortion legal than even what I would say, right?
But for my position, the way I look at it is, if you're arguing that it should be legal really at all, that puts you in a position where I think
you're more pro-choice than pro-life. But I think it just is testament to the fact that these words really don't mean what a lot of people thought
that they meant. I think there are a lot of people running around in the Republican Party who thought that when people said they were pro-life.
It was a firm, concrete statement, not something aspirational, and I think that they really believed that that meant that people thought from the
moment of conception that embryo, you know, whatever we're talking about, that embryo, that fertilized egg, the fetus when you get to that point,
from day one, that would be protected except in the case of if you're one exception pro-lifer, where the life of the mother is in jeopardy, or if
you're a three exception pro-lifer, where the life of the mother is in jeopardy, where it's rape, or where it's incest.
And it just turns out that that's actually a relatively small proportion of people who would call themselves pro-life.
MARTIN: So, let's just talk about where we are now in terms of the politics of it, the states, right? As we are speaking now, the story of --
very much the story of the moment is this young woman in Texas, who's already a mom, 30 years old, has two kids, had a very much wanted
pregnancy, and has now learned that there's a fetal abnormality, the fetus is unlikely to live at all, and her health is compromised. It's not just
that her health is compromised, but that her ability to have future children is compromised. That's the advice she's been given, OK?
So, now, a lower court has said she can go and have an abortion, but the Texas Supreme Court has said that she can't.
MARTIN: She's left the state so that she can have the procedure to -- as she says, to preserve her future fertility, but that the attorney general
has made it clear that he's basically would hold doctors to account in the state if he felt that they made the wrong decision.
And you can understand where this just like a -- what do you as a person who thinks about this both politically and morally, how do you think about
MAIR: I'll start with the political side, because believe it or not, that's actually easier, which is that --which is kind of a troubling thing
to say. Look, politically, I think one thing that the Texas attorney general is going to have to do business with sooner rather than later is
that his state has been moving in a purple direction really fast. Really, really fast.
And what you've seen is you've seen a lot of influx to Texas of people who are socially more liberal, but they don't like the tax regimes that you're
finding in blue states. Texas doesn't have personal income tax, for instance. So, it's very appealing to a lot of people.
I think one of the things that Ken Paxton is going to find is in addition to the fact that he has a number of other liabilities that I think are
going to make it at some point really difficult for him to retain political power and position in Texas just as such. I'm pretty sure that if you
looked at where the electorate as a whole is, he's in the significant minority here.
So, you know, at the end of the day, what he and other Texas Republicans choose to do about that, their call, not my call, they've gotten lucky in
some regards, because as Texas has shifted purple, the Texas Democratic Party has also fielded awfully weak candidates. But at the end of the day,
I think they're going to end up confronting a reality here, the same as J. D. Vance has.
MARTIN: In Ohio. The Ohio senator.
MAIR: J. D. Vance has basically said at this point that the only political terrain that is going to be fruitful for Republicans to fight on is stop
late term abortion, but make sure you've got exceptions. That's what you've got to do, is have the party become the party of stopping late term
abortions and offering exceptions, which is very similar to what Donald Trump has said.
Morally, I don't feel that I know enough about the case to make a personal judgment here. So, I'm going to decline to do so. I will say I definitely
do see a lot of abortions or hear of a lot of abortions that happen out there that I personally think are completely avoidable and should have been
avoided. And I do think that there is a moral imperative for people who are pro-life to go and sort of advocate for that and work on changing hearts
MARTIN: Well, just the question I have is, what if she dies? What if this woman dies? And so -- and what are they going to do then?
MAIR: I mean, it sounds like if she's gone out of state too, to have the abortion, probably that's not what's going to happen.
MARTIN: No, that's not going to happen. In her case, she had the financial means, the wherewithal, the education to reach out to an attorney to
represent her in this case, and felt safe in going public, which a lot of people don't. But what if someone dies?
MAIR: Yes. So, I think that's the question because, at some point, that could happen. And we've obviously had situations where things have been
caught in the headlines and a lot of people have made assumptions about what's factual, what's made up, what's not. And we found out, at the end of
the day, that the story was pretty much exactly as bad as what we were led to believe from the get-go.
And so, those are the kinds of stories that, I think, cause a lot of people to look very differently at the question, do you want to have a stringent
regime? I would say look at Oklahoma actually rather than Texas because they really are like from the moment of conception pro-life, right?
From the moment of conception or do you want to have something that basically allows to the moment that you're in delivery, like you would have
in certain police states? And I think that's a horrible choice That most Americans are not going to want to choose either one of those things.
MARTIN: Last month, Ohio, which has been considered a swing state, but has gone solidly for Trump, voted to enshrine access to abortion in the state
constitution. So, what did that event signal to you?
MAIR: Well, I think what that event signaled is, based on my understanding of what that means legally, I don't think legislators in Ohio are really
even capable of eroding that. That's now a firm constitutional protection.
And so, Ohio's abortion regime looks considerably more like what you have in a very, very blue state, a very progressive state, a very comfortable
with abortion state like California, than a state that is redder, like in Oklahoma, or apparently, a state that's not as red like Texas, right,
which, you know, getting back to this, that's what's interesting about the politics here is that if that happened in Ohio, you know, how are pro-life
Republicans in Texas reading the tea leaves and how are they responding to it? I wouldn't envy their job.
MARTIN: Well, you've talked about what it means to be pro-life. You know, a lot of people have started to become acquainted with the fact that
America's maternal mortality rate is horrible for an advanced industrial country with presumably health care that is, for some people, the best in
the world, but for other people, not at all.
I mean, and for black women, the situation is particularly dire. Black women have the highest maternal mortality rate of any racial or ethnic
group. And so, the question becomes, like, if people are really pro-life, why is there not more policy focused on preventing mothers from dying in
MAIR: Well, I think that's something that we're starting to see actually. One thing that has been interesting to me is that before you had Roe go
away, right, all of this attention was focused on literally, like, what abortion bans? What could we use to push the needle? What would happen if
you had this justice appointment -- appointed? How might -- and confirmed? How might that adjust the calculus on the court, right?
Now, that it has been overturned, I'm hearing a lot about laws toughen up on child support payments from dads, right? Like, single moms cannot do it
alone, and they should not be expected to do it alone. And if we're going to be serious about being a pro-life society and advocating pro-life
policy, that's one thing we can do, because the more that women feel that they're going to be supported financially, the less likely they are to
And I think that also goes to maternal health. Now, that's something that I think has been discussed in the pro-life community a lot less historically.
And I think part of that is we've had, in the last couple of years, a lot more and a lot better data about when we're looking at maternal health
outcomes, particularly, as you say, amongst African American women, right?
I feel like if we were talking five or 10 years ago, we just weren't hearing as much about that and I don't think the data was as good. So,
inevitably, that wasn't going to be a focus. But I think now we're in a place where people are seeing that data and they are getting concerned
about it and they are talking about what can be done from a policy standpoint.
MARTIN: So, you're a campaign strategist, strategize something. I mean, as we are speaking now, you know, Donald Trump is still the front runner for
the Republican nomination. The platform for the party last time was basically, like he said, like whatever he said, do you think that the part
-- I mean, that's what it was, right, like what he said.
MARTIN: So, do you think that it should be --
MAIR: Well, it's true. I mean, I don't disagree.
MARTIN: -- explicit this year? I mean, in 2024, should the Republican Party set out a platform and say, this what we believe? And give these
folks a place to stand?
MAIR: As a general concept, I do think that platforms are important documents for parties. Although, I also think that it's important for
people to understand that very few candidates are actually going to adhere to those platforms.
I will say that for people who are concerned about continuing to sustain the losses, like, what happened in Ohio and ending up with states that are
relatively red, having abortion regimes that look like California, for those people, actually having a platform in 2024 that's like, whatever
Donald Trump said, that might actually be a great thing for them, right, because if there's one thing that we know, I am not a Trump fan, I don't
have any intention of voting for him or for Joe Biden in 2024. But at the end of the day, one thing we do know is that most Republicans are not like
me and most Republicans really do think that whatever Trump says is pretty much what they should go with and whatever policy they want to adopt.
I mean, if Donald Trump says, the sky is pink, probably a solid 81 percent of self-identified Republicans are going to say, yes, it's pink. And so,
this one area where Trump taking the position that he's taking might actually turn out to be politically beneficial for the party. Certainly, a
lot more beneficial than him spending the entire campaign talking about how he thinks the 2020 election was stolen.
MARTIN: OK. And what is his position?
MAIR: His position has never been 100 percent clear. But what we do know at the moment is that he thinks that the position that Ron DeSantis, the
governor of Florida, has taken is way too strict. He -- I believe he's used some pretty harsh words. Like, I think he's actually used the word harsh.
He may have used the word draconian, but something to that effect, right?
So, I think basically what Trump is saying is he's saying focus only on banning late term and you have to have exceptions. So, you have to have
life of the mother. You have to have rape. You have to have incest. And my suspicion is that if you pushed him on it -- while Donald Trump is
certainly no master of legal wordsmithing or legal drafting, my suspicion is if you pushed him on it, he would probably want some sort of a health
exception in there too, because I think he probably worries as with this Texas case that where you have a life of the mother exception, that might
not quite provide clarity to absolutely everybody in a situation like this one.
And that is really -- you know, I will say, as a recovering lawyer, that is really one of the problems and pitfalls that I think the pro-life movement
faces with things like what was put on the ballot in Ohio.
Drafting this stuff can be really tough, and writing policy in such a way that you don't inadvertently prevent somebody that actually you think
absolutely should have access to abortion from having access to abortion is incredibly fraught with peril.
MARTIN: What should the Democrats do?
MAIR: Probably, if the Democrats are being smart, they would like to tee up as many constitutional ballot measures as they possibly can on this
issue, right? Because it seems that where they tee it up and where the language sort of pro-life side of the equation is sufficiently strict,
which I think it tends to be given where the electorate actually is on this, which is, you know, more permissive on this than I personally would
be, they do seem to see some gains and this does seem to be something that can drive turnout for them.
Personally, I hope that they don't listen to a word of this and that they drop the issue. I would very much hope that we do not see more states
emulate the example of what we've seen in places like California. We're really honestly, on my read of it, pretty much until you're in that
delivery room, you can terminate, and I think that that's not a good thing from a moral and an ethical standpoint.
But from a political standpoint, it seems that if you present people with a choice between a Texas or Oklahoma style legal regime and a California
style legal regime, even people who call themselves pro-life will vote for the California legal regime.
MARTIN: Liz Mair, thanks so much for talking with us.
MAIR: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Crucial insight there. And finally, tonight, I made my family disappear. The famous words of young Kevin MccAllister in the holiday
classic, "Home Alone." Now, immortalized as it's been selected for America's National Film Registry.
This year's selection also include historic treasures such as the 1995 classic "Apollo 13." And it so happens that I spoke with Tom Hanks, star of
that film, this month as he opened "Moonwalkers," his space travel extravaganza right here in London.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM HANKS, ACTOR: "Apollo 13," Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, Jack Swigert, they are Jason and the argonauts. That is a story that is ripped right out of
the great sagas of all of human kind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can
always catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.