Liberal TV Hosts Say U.S. Not a Democracy, Compare to Gilead Over Abortion

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a challenge to the longstanding abortion rights precedent established in the 1973 case Roe v. Wade and two prominent commentators offered strong views on the matter on Friday.

The nine justices heard oral arguments this week in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization - a potential landmark case where the state of Mississippi is asking the Court to overturn Roe and permit its near total ban on abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy.

MSNBC host Joy Reid and The Late Show host Stephen Colbert both addressed the issue on Friday, with Reid focusing her anger on Republicans and Colbert highlighting the makeup of the Court. Both compared the U.S. to autocratic regimes.

"Welcome to the new Gilead, right here in the United States of America," Reid said on her MSNBC show The ReidOut.

She was referring to the fictional Christian fundamentalist state from Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale.

Handmaids' costumes from the HBO series based on that book have become a feature of many protests against abortion restrictions.

"Women are not welcome here," Reid said.

"Correction: women who do not exist solely as vessels for a fetus are not welcome here," she added, going on to discuss the Mississippi case before the Supreme Court and playing a clip of Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett asking about adoption during oral arguments.

Reid then took aim at Republicans who oppose abortion and refer to themselves as pro-life. Six of the nine Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican presidents.

"Republicans love to say that they're pro-life. But the more accurate term is that they're pro-birth," Reid said. "Because once that baby is born, they stop caring. And depending on the color of your skin, they may not even see you as fully human."

"If they did care about children after they're born, they would be supporting universal health care, social services, food for kids whose families can't afford it, fully funding education and gun reform so kids don't have to do mass shooter drills at school," she went on.

"They would support the Build Back Better agenda, which invests in housing and the environment and acts as the biggest expansion of affordable health care in a decade. Alas, not one Republican voted for the that bill," Reid said.

Colbert, host of CBS' The Late Show, discussed the composition of the Court and the likelihood that the justices will overturn Roe, also playing audio from the oral arguments.

He pointed to a November Washington Post/ABC News poll that found just 27 percent of Americans want Roe overturned, while 60 percent believe that precedent should be maintained.

"That's more than two to one," Colbert said. "So if it is this unpopular, why is everyone saying it's gonna happen? Well, I don't want to get too technical, but - what's the word - we don't live in a democracy."

"Five of the nine justices were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote; the last three confirmed by a Republican Senate who now represent 41 million fewer Americans than the Democrats," he went on.

"In fact, Republican senators haven't represented a majority of the U.S. population since 1996. A lot has changed since 1996. Back then, the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor went to Kevin Spacey - and the Best Director was Mel Gibson," Colbert said.

The Court has the option to overturn or affirm Roe, but the justices could also choose to let the precedent stand while permitting more restrictions on abortion earlier in pregnancy.

Activists Hold Photos of Supreme Court Justices
Activists with The Center for Popular Democracy Action hold photos of U.S. Supreme Court justices as they block an intersection during a demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on December 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. MSNBC's Joy Reid and The Late Show's Stephen Colbert have both criticized the possibility of the Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images