In the wake of last week's blowup, The View has tiptoed around Meghan McCain for fear of inciting another outburst, but with the conservative firebrand out, the co-hosts finally were able to let loose this morning. The air of civility was made clear during a discussion about a high school girl who used her graduation speech to condemn Texas' new abortion law, a move that McCain, an outspoken abortion critic, almost certainly wouldn't have agreed with. However, with McCain absent, the ladies were able to engage in a substantive conversation about abortion that didn't devolve into a screaming match, as has happened all-too-often in the past. Oh, the novelty!
Moderator Whoopi Goldberg didn't specify why McCain was absent from The View this morning (it's likely that she's just out sick), but the mood was light as the co-hosts welcomed Ana Navarro back to the panel. After discussing West Virginia's new gun incentive for vaccinated residents, they turned their attention to Lake Highlands High School student Paxton Smith, a Dallas-area valedictorian who ditched her pre-approved speech and instead called out her state's recently-passed "heartbeat" abortion law. "I am terrified that if my contraceptives fail — I am terrified that if I am raped, that my hopes and aspirations and dreams and efforts for my future will no longer matter," said Smith, in a speech that has since gone viral. "I cannot give up this platform to promote complacency and peace, when there is a war on my body and a war on my rights ... We cannot stay silent."
The co-hosts praised Smith for taking "a stand" on the issue and for going "off script" to discuss a bill that will affect her generation more than any other. "I applaud her," said Sunny Hostin. "There are going to be a lot of people that disagree with her, and there are going to be a lot of people that agree with her. But it's her voice, and her time, and she used it wisely."
Rather than stick to the specific speech, Joy Behar zoomed out to discuss the fight for reproductive rights, on a larger scale. "CDC data shows that during the last 30 years, abortion rates have fallen the most under Democratic presidents," she said. "So, if you are pro-choice or pro-life, you should vote for Democrats, because under Democrats you will see fewer abortions."
TEXAS VALEDICTORIAN BLASTS ABORTION LAW: Lake Highlands high school valedictorian Paxton Smith has gone viral for going off her approved script for her graduation speech to take a stand against the state’s latest abortion law — we react. https://t.co/f8u2wc159S pic.twitter.com/OsGeE163AD— The View (@TheView) June 3, 2021
The liberal host went on to say that "the young people are getting their act together," on both sides of the aisle, as even young Republicans are distancing themselves from the Grand Old Party. "Half of Republicans under 30 left the party from 2015 to March of 2017," she said, reading off a statistic. "We are looking at a whole generation of Republican kids who are saying goodbye to this QAnon party that has evolved in the past four or five years. And I salute that, and I salute this girl."
Behar's remarks were practically tailor-made to rile up McCain, but with her absent, the hosts continued their factual, unemotional discussion. "Whether she was pro- or anti-, if her points made you think, then it's worthwhile," said Whoopi Goldberg. "So, it's not emotional. These are the facts. And Joy is right: abortion has fallen mightily. And all the folks in Texas had to do was look it up. Look it up!"
"And you will also see our birth rates have gone down considerably, as well. I don't know if everyone is happy about that, but that's also happening," concluded Goldberg. "You've just got to look. The information's there. You can't fight the facts. Or maybe you can — they keep trying."
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.