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Morning After Pill Now Available to Teens; Caught in a Taliban Ambush; Getting More Oil from Canada; What We've Learned Since "Jurassic Park"

Aired April 5, 2013 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: This is a hugely controversial pill and also hugely misunderstood.

Joining me to talk about "Plan B" to women with two very different views, Nancy Northrup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which brought and won this lawsuit against the Obama administration, and Mona Davids, the president of the New York City Parents Union.

Both of you, thank you for being here. Nancy, your side won here. First of all, I want to ask you. Do you think that the Obama administration was politically motivated when they made this decision? Do you think they would have made a different decision if it hadn't been an election year?

NANCY NORTHUP, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR REPRODCUTIVE RIGHTS: The judge in the case and in the decision that was issued today clearly found that the Secretary Sebelius's actions were politically motivated and on a very extensive record he concluded that for way too long the FDA has been engaged in politics around the very important health issue of emergency contraception being available to all women.

So it was the clear decision of Judge Korman based on a very extensive and careful record that politics has prevailed over the science and today's decision is a triumph for science, for good sense, and for women's health.

TAPPER: Mona, contraception is already available to underage girls. What is the difference with emergency contraception?

MONA DAVIDS, PRESIDENT, NEW YORK CITY PARENTS UNION: Well, with emergency contraception especially when it comes to this absurd ruling by Judge Forman giving a child, you know, access to a hormonal drug cocktail, our issue with this is that, one, if a child, if a child needs parental approval for everything and anything.

What gives the judge and what gives the sense of reproductive rights, which are supposed to be protecting women's rights not a child's rights, what gives them the authority to circumvent the authority of parents? These are our children.

You cannot trust a 9-year-old, a 10-year-old and, yes, we do have 9 and 10-year-olds that are getting menstruation at such early ages. You can't trust an 11 or 12 or 13-year-old to go into the pharmacy and alongside the bubble gum and batteries like our president said pick up some "Plan B" birth control.

First of all, there is no counseling. There isn't comprehensive sexual education done about this. Who is ensuring that the child is indeed not pregnant? One, two, who is providing counseling because if that child and I'm saying a child not a woman, a child, if that child engaged in unprotected sexual relations then that child may have been exposed to an STD. Who is providing counseling for that and treatment?

TAPPER: Mona, everything you're saying applies also to contraception and so the question is, what is the difference between contraception, which is already available over the counter and this ruling for emergency contraception?

DAVIDS: Because this -- first of all, this ruling is giving it to children of all reproductive ages, Jake. These are kids. These are kids that cannot even go and look at an R-rated movie or much less a PG-13 movie. You're giving other people's children access to hormonal drug cocktails with no supervision, with no counseling.

This is completely unacceptable. We're not objecting to if it's -- if the child is 17 and over or even 17 and younger with a doctor's prescription because at least there is some kind of comprehensive sexual education. But with this, giving children, not woman, children access is unacceptable. These are children.

TAPPER: Nancy, I want to let you respond.

NORTHUP: It's very important, of course, that parents have an important discussion with their kids about their values, about their behaviors. I've had those conversations with my own kids, but when it comes to an unexpected pregnancy you have to be sure that something that is safe and effective and science says can be on the drug store shelves should be there.

I would want it there if my own daughter should find herself in that situation and what the judge's ruling said here today is that, unfortunately, it's politics and it's these red herrings. Judge Corpsman said this discussion about 11 and 12-year-olds is a red herring. This is about women having access to a safe and effective drug that they should be able to do to prevent unintended pregnancy.

TAPPER: It's not women. It's minors, too. That is the question and I want to let you have the last word here, Nancy. There are a lot of parents who might support most of what your organization fights for, but feel very uneasy about the idea of emergency contraception.

Obviously, Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama are two of them. These are not pro lifers and they feel very differently and think this should -- there is a special place for this not in front of the counter but behind the counter. What do you say to those parents who think this is just taking it too far?

NORTHUP: I think that it's important when it comes to reproductive health including the reproductive health of teens that we look at what science and good public health says. And that is that you need to have a backup for birth control. What the judge did in this very careful 59-page opinion was say that the scientific evidence was there and the FDA had it.

That this is safe and effective and the evidence is there that women and teenagers know that this is a backup birth control method. It's not for regular birth control use. And we want to make sure that it's there for women when they need it.

Under the prior regime it wasn't there. It had obstacles that were unjustified and that you've got to not have politics making the decisions about reproductive health. It's too important for women.

TAPPER: All right, Mona and Nancy, thank you so much for your time and thanks for coming in today.

Bullets flying, confusion, terror, what is it really like to be a soldier on the frontlines? CNN Anna Coren was with one special operations unit when the Taliban attacked. Our "World Lead" is next.


TAPPER: The "World Lead," 12 years, nearly 2,200 American lives lost and many more wounded and even though U.S. combat troops are supposed to withdraw next year, Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Our own Anna Coren got an alarmingly up close reminder of the enduring threat American troops confront there every single day. She joins us live from Kabul. Anna, you went out with the Special Forces team and it got hairy in a hurry. Tell us about it.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It certainly did, Jake. As you say, we did join the U.S. Special Forces in Eastern Afghanistan in a hotbed for the Taliban and also for the insurgency. We were -- there was intelligence there was an IED maker in the town and that is when we came under fire, very heavy fire from these insurgents.

There was a fire fight that went on for some hour but, unfortunately, the Taliban as they do made their way into the landscape blending back into the community. But you mentioned the war here, Jake. It has been going on for almost 12 years, but U.S. forces are picking up and pulling out.

We've seen signs of the withdrawal, but certainly it is hoped there will be an enduring presence by the U.S. Special Forces, the ones I was embedded with and I certainly caught up with the man who was responsible for them.


COREN (voice-over): This man is the most experienced special operations leader in the U.S. military. Major General Thomas, the first NATO commander of all Special Forces in Afghanistan has spent every year here since 9/11 with the exception of a 12-month deployment in Iraq. And these are some of the men he's responsible for. We were one of his units in Eastern Afghanistan when they were ambushed by the Taliban while searching for a bomb maker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go on the back side, guy on the back side, right on the back side.

COREN: This region, close to the Pakistan border, is a hotbed for the insurgency.


COREN: With U.S. forces coming under weekly attacks.

MAJ. GENERAL TONY THOMAS, U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMANDER IN AFGHANISTAN: We came into this thing saying we'd probably take generation to change the situation in Afghanistan. We have a 12-year- old right now, 12 years is a sufficient amount of time to say that's it and good luck, Afghanistan.

COREN: But the U.S. is withdrawing. And it's now up to Afghanistan's 350,000 soldiers and police to lead the fight. However, there are serious concerns as to whether there is the political will and military capability to keep this momentum going once international forces pull out at the end of 2014.

(on camera): After almost 12 years of fighting, hundreds of billions of dollars spent, and thousands of lives lost Major General Thomas admits the U.S. has yet to win this war. But he firmly believes it's turning in the right direction.

(voice-over): As we travel across Afghanistan, the two-star general tells me that U.S. Special Forces don't want to give up the hard- fought gains and that they are willing to leave some soldiers behind to help keep the Taliban in check.

But that decision is up to Afghanistan's President Karzai who has been at odds with the tactics such as night raids.

THOMAS: There is no shortage of folks in our force who are keen on seeing this through to, you know, make sure all of our blood and treasure we've spent here over a decade come to fruition and are not just a passing chapter in history of Afghanistan.

COREN: There are real fears without an overwhelming allied presence this country could easily descend into civil war. And these U.S. Special Forces hope the sacrifice made hasn't been for nothing.


COREN: So, Jake, that is the number one concern. What is going to happen post 2014 once U.S. and international forces do withdraw. Having spent time with those soldiers on the ground their concern is that people back home in the United States have perhaps forgotten they are still here finding the war. And, you know, no one denies this war hasn't been dragging on for too long, for way too long. But certainly it is up to us to remind the public that these soldiers going out beyond and sacrificing their lives and we need to acknowledge that commitment and their bravery.

TAPPER: Indeed. Anna Coren live from Kabul, thank you so much.

The 2014 can't come quick enough for many people with loved ones in Afghanistan, but for the thousands of families who have already lost husbands, wives, dads, moms in that war and other conflicts there will never be a homecoming.

For some of those grieving, this is their day. The Senate has passed a resolution declaring this Gold Star Wives Day. Gold Star Wives is an organization that dates back to World War II, which gives support to the spouses and families of the fallen.

When researching my recent book about Afghanistan I met and came to know a number of these Gold Star Wives and I know that long after the war in Afghanistan ends it will never end for them. Their stories are heart breaking and their sacrifices are recognized even less than those of their late husbands.

Kristen, Jennifer, Brandy, Karen, Dina, Olivia, Amanda, Brittany, Alexis, and Megan, I'm thinking about you today. Thank you.

Up next billionaire, T. Boone Pickens talks to me about new energy and an oil spill in our "Money Lead."


TAPPER: Also happening in money news today, the battle over the Keystone pipeline. The Obama administration expected to issue its decision on whether to allow an extension to carry crude oil from Canada to the gulf coast sometime in the next few months.

It's become a political controversy. Just this week, President Obama was greeted outside a California fundraiser by protesters pushing the president to reject the pipeline extension.

Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens knows what it is like to pick an energy fight in Washington although he doesn't have much of a recent winning record. I spoke to him earlier this week about his frustrations in pitching what he calls the Pickens plan.


TAPPER: Welcome. Thanks for being here.

T. BOONE PICKENS, BP CAPITAL: Sure. Glad to be here.

TAPPER: So before we talk about energy you said recently that Washington has the largest group of incompetent people in one place in the world. Do you mind elaborating on that?

PICKENS: One thing would be we haven't had a budget in five years. I can't imagine operating government without a budget. OK, that's one reason. And another is, you know, I've brought the Pickens plan up here, simple plan. Get on your own resources. Get off OPEC oil. That's not hard to understand.

TAPPER: Certainly there would be I would think a lot of people in Congress who want to support that.

PICKENS: You'd think so, but we never got anything done.

TAPPER: So you support the Keystone pipeline extension. That is actually oil from a -- fuel from Canada -- but you do support it. What do you say to the people who see the Exxon pipeline leak in Arkansas this week and say, that's an example of maybe why we shouldn't have a pipeline like Keystone?

PICKENS: Of course. Don't do it. Just let the oil go to China. Don't let it come to the United States. No. It would be the dumbest thing we've ever done. But the leak in Arkansas, I mean, you're looking at an industry that has 175,000 miles of pipelines in the United States.

We move around. We talk about in the United States, 30 million barrels of oil a day. We don't use that much but some of it backtracks, goes to different places, refineries and all, 30 million barrels. And over a 10-year period, they have spilled about 100,000 barrels of that oil.

TAPPER: So a small fraction of that.

PICKENS: Why it's 99.9 percent safe. So we're going to --

TAPPER: Until it's in your back yard, right? Then it is a horrible, horrific thing.

PICKENS: Well, horrible, horrific. What did it do in Arkansas? Where was it spilled? You're not talking about much oil there. You can clean it up. It isn't that big a job.

TAPPER: You -- part of the Pickens plan is a move toward domestic energy production and includes natural gas, a big emphasis of yours. What do you say to people who say fracking, which is a very controversial process of trying to get the natural gas out by injecting chemicals into the ground that the jury is still out. We don't know how safe it is. So to be embracing natural gas and fracking is too dangerous.

PICKENS: I mean, there have been over 800,000 wells that have been fracked. I saw my first frack job in 1952. This is tried, proven. Has there been anything that happens? In 3,000 wells I never had a failure on it. I didn't get as much oil out of the hole as I wanted, but we didn't mess up anything with the frack job.

TAPPER: Lastly, sir, you were a big funder of the swift vote for truth ads in 2004 and ads that were at the very least let's call them controversial. John Kerry the subject of those ads is now secretary of state. He is in a position where even if he is not president he could team up with you.

He could partner with you. This is a big international issue, energy independence of the United States. Do you regret having been an opponent of his when having him as an ally right now might be better off for you?

PICKENS: There was not an ad that we did. There were nine ads, that was not factual. So I don't, I'm going to answer your question. OK.


PICKENS: I just want to say that.

TAPPER: I don't want a whole fight about swift boat. I will disagree with that assertion, but please continue.

PICKENS: OK, I have worked with John Kerry on energy in the last two years. Harry Reid called me and said, John Kerry is going to have an energy plan and we can put your plan in with his plan. Would you consider that? I said, of course I would.

TAPPER: So you think you can still work with him?

PICKENS: Of course, I can. Yes, if it's about America, we're not in some campaign. That's history.

TAPPER: T. Boone Pickens, thank you so much for joining us.



TAPPER: It's the closest you'll ever come to becoming dinosaur food. "Jurassic Park" now in 3D, but science may have messed up our shot at ever having a real Jurassic Park. So what did Steven Spielberg get right and what did he get wrong? Our "Pop Lead" is next.


TAPPER: The "Pop Lead," as if the thought of a T-Rex on the loose at a theme park wasn't enough to freak you out the first time "Jurassic Park" is back and in 3D. The Steven Spielberg thriller returns to theatres this weekend with bigger, badder, bolder ways to leave you squirming in your seat.

But not even the most mind blowing special effects can overcome some of the scientific realities we've learned since the film debuted 20 years ago.


TAPPER (voice-over): In a time long, long ago, 1993 to be exact --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think you have a T-Rex?

TAPPER: There were dinosaurs. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a T-Rex.

TAPPER: Yes, it was 20 years ago believe it or not that Steven Spielberg released the formerly extinct from their cages and into the memories of millions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to "Jurassic Park."

TAPPER: Today the iconic film returns in 3D and addition to watching where we sit, we've learned a lot since the original debut of the movie.

DR. NATHAN SMITH, PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY, HOWARD UNIVERSITY: We have a new species coming from the southern continents that rival T-Rex in size and have banana size teeth and new species even from western North America here at home that have claws longer than their hands that look like giant Freddy Krugers.

TAPPER: As far as the species we see in the film?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: He's walking this way.

TAPPER: Paleonthologist like Dr. Nathan Smith say most of these things should have wings.

SMITH: We have a striking array of fossils that have come out in the past 10 to 15 years and show many non-avian dinosaurs actually possessed feathers.

TAPPER: According to the Natural History Museum this dinosaur should actually have looked more like this. Yikes. And this colorful display? It should have been even more vibrant in HD film and in real life.

SMITH: We don't know the full spectrum of colors that might have been out there, but we can get at some of the structural colors including certain blacks, iridescent blues and also kind of the orange color that you might see in a robin.

TAPPER: But the biggest challenge to the accuracy of the fantasy film, DNA. Last year, a team of researchers from Australia's Murdoch University released a study suggesting DNA can only survive intact about 7 million years. That's about 170 million shy of what the Jurassic period.

So while embryos from this gastric brooding frog that vanished in the mid 1980s can and were briefly brought back from extinction, this year these older guys are permanently gone though maybe that's a good thing.


TAPPER: Now the "Jurassic Park" sequels did include a lot of the scientific updates to make a movie about Dinosaur Island feel more realistic. For $35,000 you can watch "Jurassic Park" at home I guess while sitting on your couch made of gold. A home theatre system made by Prima Cinema gives those who can afford it an opportunity to watch new releases by a special digital box. The $35,000 price tag is just for the equipment and each movie runs about 500 bucks a pop.

Hash tag you're it. We asked you earlier what baseball card you would pay a pretty penny for and why. Raymond Smalley said I would pay $1 million for every card of former Tigers short stop Allan Tramell, hashtag so worth it.

And at Southern Husky tweeted 1952 Mickey Mantle because it is so valuable. Sell it to pay for my kids' college education.

That's all for me. I know turn you over to Wolf Blitzer.