What Garrison Keillor Said About Roe v. Wade and Women's Rights

Garrison Keillor has been criticized for his comments on Roe v. Wade, but what did the former A Prairie Home Companion host actually say?

In a now-deleted Facebook post, Keillor discussed conservative Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and what her appointment could mean for women's right to abortion and the Affordable Care Act.

Keillor said: "It seems clear that Judge Barrett will sit on the Supreme Court and this will mean the reversal of Roe v. Wade and some deep dents in the Affordable Care Act, two conservative goals, both politically unpopular."

However, Keillor went onto say that he does not believe that the right to an abortion is "worth fighting for" as the politics around abortion are divisive.

He suggested the law around abortion could be similar to the law on the death penalty, as it varies by state: "I don't think Roe v. Wade is worth fighting for anymore. It's an issue that's torn the country asunder and to what good? We can accept a system of states' rights, whereby abortion is legal in some states, illegal in others, same as you have a death penalty in some states, nor in others."

Garrison Keillor
Garrison Keillor performs at City Winery on October 4, 2017, in New York City. Keillor has come under fire for his comments on Roe v. Wade, as he said it's not "worth fighting for anymore." Getty/Al Pereira

Keillor went onto say that states should be able to govern with their own laws, even when those laws would harm its residents, such as the LGBTQ+ community, as Keillor used in his example: "We live in a country where today, 40 percent of the people resolutely believe the Earth is flat and Trump is a Great Man: so we're no longer one country (if we ever were), so let us abandon that illusion. Let South Dakota be South Dakota and if they wish to criminalize LGBTQ, then they can deal with the consequences."

He declared the conversations around Roe v. Wade and same-sex marriage a "culture war," and called for these issues to be forgotten about, in favor of the economy and the environment: "Let's give the cultural war a rest and focus on the economy and tax policy and environment. No child should go hungry in America or be homeless, every child has the right to a good education: 85 percent of us agree on that.

"Concede our irreconcilable differences and let's move forward where we agree, starting November 3. Dump the man off his horse and let him spend the next four years in and out of courtrooms in New York City and deal with his failing business."

In a follow-up Facebook post, Keillor tried to clarify his previous statement. But while he said "we need to focus on providing health care and support for women," he also said, "that will lessen the number of women who feel forced to abort."

Keillor's comments were met with disdain and had many women questioning why Keillor thought he was in a position to be passing judgment on women's reproductive rights.

Roxanne Gay, writer and social commentator, said: "The day I give a f*** about what Garrison Keillor thinks about women's rights is a day that doesn't exist in any space or time."

Charlotte Clymer, writer and activist, said: "The right to a safe abortion is always worth fighting for, and if Garrison Keillor feels that going back to women being forgotten and dying in dark alleys is a price worth paying for 'unity', that really tells you all you need to know when it comes to what he thinks about women."