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Comedian and Co-Creator of The Daily Show, Lizz Winstead, En Route to Pontiac To Raise Money For Planned Parenthood (Rochester Citizen)

Posted on the Rochester Citizen on July 7, 2011.

By Bruce Fealk.

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Published: 07.07.11| Updated: 07.11.11

Lizz Winstead, comedian and co-creator of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart spoke to The Rochester Citizen en route to a fundraiser with Planned Parenthood of Michigan at the historic Eagle theatre.

Winstead spoke to us from the road in rural Wisconsin, Paul Ryan country. One of the interesting things about the area, she said, was the close proximity of Adult Pleasure Palace billboards within feet of anti-choice billboards reading, "Aren’t You Glad Mommy’s Pro-Life. There’s a disconnect between how much porn and Jesus there is in this state. This crazy pro-life agenda is so interesting." Winstead told us.

Having been in Minnesota, Winstead spoke to The Rochester Citizen about the "double whammy" of Presidential candidates Michelle Bachmann and former Governor Tim Pawlenty, both from Minnesota. When we asked Winstead about Michelle Bachmann husband’s recent statement referring to gay people as barbarians, Winstead replied, “Can you even believe it. And he’s supposedly a 'gay counselor' and so the two of them together, it’s amazing to me when you’ve said so many ridiculous things in your life, the fact that you just don’t say ridiculous things qualifies you as a leader is pathetic."

We reminded Winstead about Republican Senator John Kyl’s statements on the floor of the Senate recently where he said that 97% of Planned Parenthood’s services are for abortion, when in fact only 3% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are abortions, and the remainder are preventive health services such as cancer screenings. A spokesman for Kyle later said that Kyle’s statements were not meant to be factual. Winstead suggested that the statement, “My statements were not meant to be factual,” should be tattooed on their forehead and possibly on their genitalia so that people really know what they’re getting.

When asked who her favorite Republican candidate was, Winstead said, "Michelle Bachmann has always been awesome. They all have some things in their own right. Rick Santorum has things in his own right, the Romney twins and then Newt Gingrich. I call them the cream of the crap, like if this is the best that you have, your poor party, poor America. I cannot see any leadership qualities in any of these people. It’s utterly shocking."

When asked what her plans were if one of the Republican candidates were to defeat President Obama in 2012 and whether she would leave the county, she said, “I just couldn’t imagine leaving the United States and leaving poor people, elderly people and immigrants in the hands of Michelle Bachmann without an advocate. I just couldn’t do it. I’m staying no matter what. ”

It has been reported that anti-choice advocates will be protesting at Winstead’s show on Saturday night. “It’s interesting that the anti-choice will come and protest a comedy show when I can pretty much tell you in the history of comedy there has never been any kind of abortion services performed or provided at a comedy show. Yes, I heard they’re coming. I think it’s very disheartening that they are so misguided. Anybody who says they would like to end abortion in this country by removing all access to birth control is somebody that should not be allowed to be at the table and part of the conversation.”

According to Lori Lamerand, President of Planned Parenthood for South and Mid Michigan, Planned Parenthood prevents 600,000 abortions per year. When we asked Winstead about that statistic, she responded, “Yes, of course, and that’s the unspoken thing. I don’t know how many right-to-lifers are preventing by enforcing abstinence only education and closing down access to affordable reproductive services, birth control, STD testing, education. Explain to me how that is helping to reduce the number of abortions. I simply do not understand it. Anybody who can make logic of it I think needs to go to a therapist. “

Asked whether she has ever sat down with an anti-choice advocate, Winstead said she’s only had them scream at her from afar. “I’ve never seen them engage in dialog in any meaningful way because they come from not a place of science but a place of faith and if you’re basing medical science based on faith there is no middle ground. If you believe life begins at conception, which technically all life does begin at conception, so when we’re talking about viability and we’re talking about medical science and you’re invoking viable and what god says, I don’t know where you find middle ground with that person. I really don’t because we don’t live in a theocracy, the last time I checked, even though sometimes it seems that way. So I really don’t understand why people who have no medical degree are trying to shut down these clinics. I simply don’t understand it.”

We asked Winstead why anti-choice advocates are also anti birth control, she replied, “Because they’re ultimately anti-sex and they want to control women. That’s the bottom line. If you want to stop abortion you would be doing everything in your power to make sure people weren’t getting pregnant. If you’re trying to say your only way to do that is to make sure people don’t have sex—you can’t control people’s bodies in this country. If they want to have sex, they have sex. It’s a free country. People can have sex in it. It’s a roundabout way to me to control what women do with their own body even sexually. “

Pontiac, Michigan is Winstead’s first stop on her I Am Here For You tour. Winstead said she just wants to celebrate women and women’s health Michigan and America kicking off the tour who are the face of what Planned Parenthood is and how determined the majority in the country is.

We asked Winstead about the recent report that President Obama is putting cuts to Social Security and Medicare on the table to resolve the negotiations over the raising of the country’s debt ceiling. “If that happens then Obama has sold the Democratic base down the river. I mean it is absolutely absurd. We paid into those things. Those are not giveaways. We pay into both of those programs and now what we’re trying to say is – we’ve already cut the WIC program. We’ve cut funding for the CHIP program. They tried to cut family planning funding. Now if they’re going to put Medicare and Social Security on as places to cut so that the wealthiest of the wealthy in this country don’t have to sacrifice anything, that is pathetic. I’m glad to hear that Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi are saying, are you kidding me? There’s no way that we are going to stand for that.”

Asked whether liberals could learn anything from the Tea Party, Winstead said, “I wonder if the Tea Party is going to learn about what compromise is because when they look at their hero, Michelle Bachmann, and the subsidies she’s taken from the government, if they see the hypocrisy in that and they can just blindly go forward, I don’t know what we’re to learn from the Tea Party, because they don’t seem to really understand when you compromise, when you don’t, how government works and in turn how to hold your own accountable. You can’t have your hero be Michelle Bachmann when she’s taking all of these government subsidies when you say we don’t want any government subsidies. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

Winstead said her routine Saturday night will include news of the day, the debt ceiling negotiations, the Republican budget plan, the hypocrisy of cutting NPR and Planned Parenthood ahead of jobs. She’ll also be talking about the economy, gay marriage, the environment a little bit, President Obama and the Democrats’ role in recent events.

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