Rachel Maddow took aim at Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for secretary of defense, on her Tuesday show.
Hagel has run into opposition from some Republicans and Democrats for his foreign policy views and his past comments on gay people. Maddow, though, focused on Hagel's positions on women's health issues, which she called "distinctly Akin and Mourdock-esque" in a reference to Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, the Republican senatorial candidates who made incendiary comments about rape and abortion in 2012.
Maddow conceded that Hagel wasn't trying to become "Secretary of Women's Health," but said his views were still relevant.
"We don't generally think about it having to do much with God and gays," she said. "Except it really kind of does."
She cited a BuzzFeed story that pointed to Hagel's repeated votes against measures that let women in the military pay for abortion services out of their own pockets -- let alone to have abortion covered in their health insurance -- as well as his opposition to abortion in general, even in the cases of rape or incest. This, Maddow said, would clash with current Pentagon policy, which allowed for abortion coverage in the case of rape.
"According to Chuck Hagel, you shouldn't even have access to [an abortion] in a military hospital," she said. "What, 'Go find a local service provider, deployed service woman?'"
Maddow also raised the issue of Hagel's views on gay rights. Though he has apologized for offensive comments about an openly gay ambassador, and though gay people who know him have defended him, Maddow said that his views were very pertinent, because gay servicemembers were affected by laws such as the Defense of Marriage Act.
If that law was repealed, she said, "It may very well be Chuck Hagel deciding the very sensitive issue of whether a gay service member's family gets this kind of equal treatment that she or he would never have had before. So Chuck Hagel's position on gay rights ... actually could not be more central."