Gillibrand Fires Back After Fox Host Says It's Not 'Polite' To Challenge Abortion Coverage

The Democratic senator said Fox News had been a "problem" when it came to language around abortion. Host Chris Wallace said the lawmaker wasn't being "polite."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) challenged Fox Newscoverage of abortion during a town hall event on Sunday, accusing the network of peddling disinformation to the chagrin of host Chris Wallace.

Gillibrand, the latest Democratic candidate among a crowded field to appear on the network for an hourlong Q&A session, used a question about late-term abortions to pivot toward Fox News’ coverage of the issue. Just over 1% of abortions across the country are performed at 21 weeks or later, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but such procedures get outspoken criticism by groups against reproductive rights.

“What we’ve created, unfortunately, is a false choice and a false narrative. Chris, I want to talk about the role Fox News plays in this, because it’s a problem,” Gillibrand said in response to the question. “I can tell you before President Trump gave his State of the Union, Fox News talked about infanticide. Infanticide doesn’t exist.”

Wallace quickly cut the senator off, saying that the network had invited her there as a guest and had thus far been treating her “fairly.”

“I understand, maybe to make your credentials with the Democrats who are not appearing on Fox News, you are going to attack us,” Wallace said. “I’m not sure, frankly, it’s not very polite when we’ve invited you to be here.”

Gillibrand said she would address her concerns politely, and continued on.

Abortion is “a human right, it’s about having bodily autonomy, it’s about being able to control your physical self,” Gillibrand said. “So let women make these most personal decisions.”

Several other prominent Democratic candidates have appeared on Fox News over the past months in an attempt to appeal to moderate and conservative voters, while others have said they won’t appear on the network. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg faced a similar question on abortion from Wallace during his own event last month, but shut the Fox News host down. 

Gillibrand has had some trouble gaining ground in the Democratic race so far, and while she has qualified for the upcoming party debates, she hasn’t yet secured a healthy number of donors.

During another viral moment during Sunday’s town hall, Gillibrand was asked to explain a tweet she posted that said the future was female. Wallace, appearing slightly flummoxed by the statement ― which has become a rallying cry for women’s groups around the world ― asked what that meant for men going forward. 

“They’re already there,” Gillibrand fired back. “Do you not know?”