This is your Republican Party, America, a party in which forcing girls to give birth to their rape and incest babies, but not necessarily to die in the process, is now the moderate position. There have been several middle-to-bottom tier Republican presidential candidates who have openly advocated criminalizing abortions even when the life of the mother is at risk, making those who simply oppose exceptions for rape and incest seem positively centrist by comparison. Over the weekend, though, the top tier went radical when runner-up Ben Carson broke some new ground on opposition to abortion rights.
Carson is getting a lot of attention for comparing reproductive freedom to slavery, which is like giving water attention for being wet. Carson says slavery is “one of those words you’re not supposed to say,” like he’s gonna lose a turn in $25,000 Pyramid, but the problem isn’t the word, it’s the dumb and offensive ideas he garnishes it with.
In that same interview with Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, though, Carson came out definitively against rape and incest exceptions, but also invented a new position on threats to the life of the mother. If a pregnancy puts your life at risk, Ben Carson is willing to “listen” as you beg for your life. Unfortunately, the bar he sets doesn’t sound all that easy to clear:
CHUCK TODD: What if somebody has an unwanted pregnancy? Should they have the right to terminate?
DR. BEN CARSON: No. Think about this. During slavery– and I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say, but I’m saying it. During slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. Anything that they chose to do. And, you know, what if the abolitionist had said, you know, “I don’t believe in slavery. I think it’s wrong. But you guys do whatever you want to do”? Where would we be?
CHUCK TODD: Definitively, do you want to see Roe v. Wade overturned?
DR. BEN CARSON: Ultimately, I would love to see it overturned.
CHUCK TODD: And that means all abortions illegal? Or is there still an exception that you would have?
DR. BEN CARSON: I’m a reasonable person. And if people can come up with a reasonable explanation of why they would like to kill a baby, I’ll listen.
CHUCK TODD: Life and health of the mother?
DR. BEN CARSON: Again, that’s an extraordinarily rare situation. But if in that very rare situation it occurred, I believe there’s room to discuss that.
CHUCK TODD: Rape and incest?
DR. BEN CARSON: Rape and incest, I would not be in favor of killing a baby because the baby came about in that way. And all you have to do is go and look up the many stories of people who have led very useful lives who were the result of rape or incest.
Make no mistake about it, Carson is not saying he’s willing to “discuss” a blanket exception for the life of the mother (or he would have just said that), he’s saying he would consider (or the government would consider) the individual circumstances, based on the “reasonable explanation of why they would like to kill a baby” standard. I imagine those discussions would be similar to those of his hero, King Solomon, except Carson would offer to cut the woman in half.
At best, though, Carson is saying that he’d like to substitute his (or the government’s) medical judgment in place of the woman and her doctor’s, a frightening and decidedly Big Governmenty proposition on its own. It becomes positively terrifying when you consider Ben Carson’s medical judgment on these matters. Like Scott Walker, Ben Carson falsely believes that therapeutic abortions are exceedingly rare, and isn’t convinced of their necessity even in those instances.
But this is also a guy who, just a few weeks ago, endorsed performing medical abortions in emergency rooms because he doesn’t actually know what a medical abortion is. I’m starting to wonder if Carson should have ever been allowed to operate on anyone’s brain, but I sure as hell would never let him near a vagina.
Over the weekend, Donald Trump attacked Carson over his religion, saying his own Presbyterian religion was “right down the middle,” but “I don’t know about” Seventh Day Adventism, which is Carson’s faith. It might interest Trump to know that Carson himself doesn’t seem to know about Adventism, since he ignores it every chance he gets. They don’t believe in eating Popeyes, and they also don’t believe in forcing a little girl to give birth to the brother-son her father raped into her, even if it might kill her:
The Church does not serve as conscience for individuals; however, it should provide moral guidance. Abortions for reasons of birth control, gender selection, or convenience are not condoned by the Church. Women, at times however, may face exceptional circumstances that present serious moral or medical dilemmas, such as significant threats to the pregnant woman’s life, serious jeopardy to her health, severe congenital defects carefully diagnosed in the fetus, and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. The final decision whether to terminate the pregnancy or not should be made by the pregnant woman after appropriate consultation.
There’s another Republican debate coming up this week, so if you’re still not clear on what Ben Carson thinks about forcing women to continue pregnancies that might kill them, or what the rest of the GOP field thinks about it, you should let moderator John Harwood know. It’s my suspicion that if he digs a little deeper on life-of-the-mother exceptions, he’ll find a lot of candidates who would like to give the government power to veto a doctor’s judgment in these cases. If he does, then ask yourself if you want any of these freaks deciding whether you live or die.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.