A Pageant Queen Got Asked About Planned Parenthood & Nailed It

Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images.
Often, when a contestant's response from a beauty pageant goes viral, it's, well, not because she said something amazingly astute. (Remember this?) But an exchange from last night's Miss America competition was quite the exception. Miss Tennessee was asked about the imminent battle over defunding Planned Parenthood — and she nailed the answer.

Host Vanessa Williams asked, "Some legislators are threatening to shut down the government over federal contributions to Planned Parenthood, even though no federal funds can be used for abortions. Should Planned Parenthood funding be cut off?" So much for "Describe your perfect date" softball questions.

But Hannah Robison, 21, took on the controversial topic in stride. She responded, "I don’t think Planned Parenthood funding should be cut off. The $500 million that gets given to Planned Parenthood every single year goes to female…care. It goes for scanning for cancers, it goes for mammograms…and if we don’t give that funding to Planned Parenthood, those women will be out of health care for reproductive causes.”

She was able to get to clearly articulate the argument that women depend on Planned Parenthood to get medical attention they might otherwise go without because they can't afford it — and to do it within her 20-second time limit.

Robison did receive some pushback online: Conservative author Dana Loesch tweeted, "Horrific answer by #MissTennessee. She falsely claimed that #PlannedParenthood performs mammograms. #MissAmerica." (Loesch is technically correct: Planned Parenthood does not itself perform mammograms, but it does perform thousands and thousands of breast exams and helps connect women to places that do perform them — along with a whole host of other women's health care.)

Though Miss Tennessee didn't win the biggest prize of the night (the crown went to Miss Georgia), she did win the audience vote, earning the title of America's Choice.

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