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Rand Gets Abortion Politics Right

In the 24 hours after Rand Paul officially announced his presidential campaign, the Kentucky doctor has shown off both edges of his trademark combative political style.

On the “Today Show” yesterday morning, Paul went after [1] NBC reporter Savannah Guthrie when she pressed him on his frequent attempts to split the foreign-policy baby. For a candidate with unconventional politics that will necessarily not fit into the easy categories relied on by 24-hour news, Paul has often displayed thin skin and a paucity of patience that could bode poorly for his ability to weather an 18-month campaign that will only get more confrontational.

Before the day was out, however, Paul performed the abortion-politics reversal so many pro-life conservatives have been anxiously waiting for in the years following the Obama campaign’s “war on women” meme. In doing so, he reminded us that he first truly broke out as a national figure by picking a filibuster fight no other Republican would touch.

As Dave Weigel reports [2], the Associated Press pressed Paul on the issue of abortion exceptions, and he responded by noting his votes for bills that included exceptions and those that didn’t. When Paul was again questioned by a local reporter citing a DNC e-mail blast that referenced his previous answer, however, he turned it back around, asking,

Here’s the deal—we always seen to have the debate waaaaay over here on what are the exact details of exemptions, or when it starts … Why don’t we ask the DNC: Is it okay to kill a seven-pound baby in the uterus? You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she’s OK with killing a seven-pound baby that is not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when it’s okay to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, get back to me.

As the earnest people at Vox have been documenting [3], the ideological uniformity that distinguishes activists on both sides of the abortion issue is far rarer in the American public at large. Yet for reasons that readers can supply for themselves, pro-life politicians and positions are far more likely to receive widespread critical media coverage, examining their answers on questions about fringe cases. The fringe cases of very late-term abortions, and whether they should be legal or not, are rarely given the same intensity of mainstream media examination.

Wasserman Schultz’s response revealed her lack of practice:

Here’s an answer … I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story. Now your turn, Senator Paul. We know you want to allow government officials like yourself to make this decision for women — but do you stand by your opposition to any exceptions, even when it comes to rape, incest, or life of the mother? Or do we just have different definitions of ‘personal liberty’? And I’d appreciate it if you could respond without ’shushing’ me.

While she may not get raked over the coals the same way an RNC chair would for an equivalent categorical statement, Wasserman Schultz immediately concedes the abortion ballgame, declaring legal abortion apparently up to the moment of delivery to be the official Democratic party position.

What stands out in Rand’s reversal is that he did not go after the media for a perceived unfairness. He went right after the DNC. As much as many conservatives may enjoy sticking it to their perceived media enemy, even in our disintermediated age it doesn’t do a candidate any favors to constantly be showing up the ref [4].

Launching attacks at Democrats cuts out the middleman, and may be one of Paul’s best rhetorical tactics to win enough of the traditional Republican base to have a chance at the primary nod. Paul’s libertarian streak will always keep him from being the candidate to reassuringly confirm the base’s priors, and his attempts to shroud foreign policy restraint in hawkish rhetoric can at times appear ungainly. Distinguishing himself as the most skilled assailant of Hillary Clinton, then, could give Paul an appealing in with the base.

In a GOP primary field that will likely eventually turn into a circular firing squad, Rand’s ability to rise above the intraparty fray, while still appealing to untraditional constituencies, may be his best political path to success. To pull it off, however, he’ll have to display more skilled reversals, and fewer thin-skinned retorts.

38 Comments (Open | Close)

38 Comments To "Rand Gets Abortion Politics Right"

#1 Comment By zic On April 9, 2015 @ 7:59 am

A 7 lb. baby is near birth. These abortions are rare (2%), and almost always due to catastrophic medical complications.

Since most laws include provisions for the health and safety of the mother, this will not change anything, except signaling (probably incorrectly) that he’s pro-life to Republican primary voters.

I hope he sticks to libertarian principle here, and recognized that women have a right to control their reproductive lives.

#2 Comment By Clint On April 9, 2015 @ 8:30 am

Many Americans think that the mainstream media and the DNC are joined at the hip.
Rand Paul appears to have the ability to get his message out despite this.

#3 Comment By philadelphialawyer On April 9, 2015 @ 9:40 am

That “When does life begin?” argument does not struck me as the game changer it is presented as here. For one thing, it is hardly new. For another, of course, a fetus is “alive.” What else would it be? Dead? Undead? So too is an embryo “alive.” Even a zygote is alive. Arguably, even sperms and egg cells are “alive.”

And you can even add the standard “human” to the argument, ie “When does human life begin?” and it doesn’t do much. Yes, a fetus or an embryo or zygote are human, and yes, they are alive.

We know that abortions involve ending the life of the fetus, embryo or zygote, or even, as Paul tendentiously calls it, “the baby.” If that wasn’t the case, what would be the controversy?

And, since it is the case, there must be some reason for allowing a woman to do it, unless one is against it across the boards. If Paul agrees that there should be, as he calls them, “exceptions,” then he is admitting that protecting this “life” is not of the highest order priority, and is not akin to killing a person who has been born.

If we are arguing about which “exceptions” to allow, we are already well past the claim that “abortion is murder,” and are instead in the field of balancing the interests of the fetus/embryo/zygote and the woman. In which case, all or nothing claims about “when life begins” and “babies” and such are false.

Maybe I’m wrong on the politics of Paul’s answer, but to me, it is just emotionalist obsfuscation.

#4 Comment By Sean S. On April 9, 2015 @ 9:52 am

declaring legal abortion apparently up to the moment of delivery to be the official Democratic party position.

Well yes, because terminations and inductions of non-viable pregnancies happen at a variety of gestational ages, including past the 25th week. These happen for a variety of reasons, including infection of the fetus that may result in sepsis, fetal demise or birth defects that are incompatible with life. Despite the insistence of pro-life individuals to artificially keep babies without brainstems alive, there are actually fetuses that are non-viable.

And before someone trots out that old saw that the majority of late abortions are not done for medical reasons, I will highlight that survey defined late abortions as beyond 16 weeks, which is still way before the gestational age of viability. And again, before someone trots out the handful of examples of viability before 25 weeks, again the odds of survival are so exponentially low and get lower with each week prior to 25, that insisting that “life” is viable has never taken a statistics class.

#5 Comment By Bob On April 9, 2015 @ 10:03 am

They are trying to respond by accusing Paul of mansplaining, and having problems with women journalists.

#6 Comment By Blackfish On April 9, 2015 @ 10:25 am

I really enjoyed Paul’s response. While I have some reservations, I’m really warming to this guy. As an aside, I vaccilate between being a TradCon and libertarian depending on the day/issue and I am a lapsed NRO reader. I have to say the American Conservative is a tremendous resource. Quality opinion pieces and one of the most thoughtful and respectful comments section around. Keep up the great work.

#7 Comment By Ken T On April 9, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

“Here’s the deal—we always seen to have the debate waaaaay over here on what are the exact details of exemptions, or when it starts “

No kidding – because that’s where governing takes place. At the point where the exact details are being hashed out. Unless and until you are ready to address those exact details, all you are engaged in is meaningless rhetoric. That might be fine for a preacher addressing his congregation from the pulpit, but someone who wants to be elected to govern has to get down to those pesky details.

#8 Comment By Mario On April 9, 2015 @ 3:01 pm

Now that we have saved the babies from being aborted, who will save them from poverty and provide them with a chance at life, such as decent medical coverage, school, etc.
For conservatives, life might start at conception of the fetus but strangely ends at birth

#9 Comment By Matthew Lee On April 9, 2015 @ 5:55 pm

Stupid answer from someone that doesn’t really “get” the pro-choice argument.

I’m not okay with “killing” anyone. However, I don’t consider abortion to be “killing” someone any more than I consider pulling someone off of life support to be “killing” them. There is a line between “killing” and “allowing to die” and, legally, that line is important. Blurring the distinction between the two creates a legal situation that is morally ambiguous and completely unenforceable.

So am I alright with “killing” a seven pound baby? Of course not. Am I alright with a woman having a baby removed from her body? Yes. I am. If that means the baby dies, it is sad. But just because something is sad doesn’t mean it should be illegal. We shouldn’t be basing legislation on kneejerk emotional responses.

#10 Comment By Kevin O’Keeffe On April 9, 2015 @ 8:10 pm

“So am I alright with “killing” a seven pound baby? Of course not. Am I alright with a woman having a baby removed from her body? Yes. I am. If that means the baby dies, it is sad. But just because something is sad doesn’t mean it should be illegal. We shouldn’t be basing legislation on kneejerk emotional responses.”

Perhaps if they wouldn’t open up the back of the head of the seven-pound baby, using what is essentially a pare of scissors, and then suction out its brains, in order to facilitate the collapsing of the skull (so that it can be more conveniently removed from the uterus), the bay would get to live?

If that ain’t murder, then the term is meaningless, all libertarian obfuscation to the contrary, not withstanding.

#11 Comment By stef On April 9, 2015 @ 8:21 pm

Any GOP candidate is going to have to get past their own party platform, based on “fetal personhood.” They are going to have to explain how they want to criminalize IVF and any birth control with the remotest possibility of conception: because they equate conception with a real pregnancy (i.e. implantation.)

Any snark dished up by Rand Paul doesn’t address this point, and in this upcoming 2016 election, the GOP needs to be confronted over and over with the language in its own platform.

#12 Comment By EliteCommInc. On April 9, 2015 @ 8:23 pm

I’m not okay with “killing” anyone. However, I don’t consider abortion to be “killing” someone any more than I consider pulling someone off of life support to be “killing” them.

Hmmmmm . . .,
” . . . and are instead in the field of balancing the interests of the fetus/embryo/zygote and the woman.”

Two very simple responses here.

1. killing a human being that cannot defend itself from attack is murder. It matters not a twiddle if that human being is on life support or whether that human being is in anyone of the stages “fetus/embryo/zygote” stage of his or her development.

If the question is viability, there are no shortage on humans outside that womb that qualify for termination. The single most ridiculous argument ever invented besides calling a child some name suggesting that said name means the child is not in fact a human being, a woman’s right to determine her “reproductive rights.”

Liberals ever tire of this nonsensical position. No one is forcing a woman to have get pregnant. There are any number of measures that could prevent conception should she choose to avail herself of them.

This is not some inevitable consequence of dancing through the tulips. Her first choice —

abstain from behavior that results pregnancy — 100% proof positive guaranteed o avod any possibility of having a child. Celibacy works; it always has.

Should this woman be so totally incapable of controlling her desires, then she should insure preventive measures are taken. If her world will end should she choose to abstain, then by all means at least prevent a human being from being conceived. As such she has all of the reproductive rights available.

Once a human being is conceived, then we as acommunity expect her to protect, nuture that child til of such an age it can fend for himself or herself. Should she find that an unbearable burden, then adoption is the answer. There is not a single reason to murder a child.

In cases of rape, murderig the child resolves nothing.

Again the problem with Sen. Paul is his constant attempt to have it both ways. While I certainly applaud his defense of seven month old childrn, there are several million others that need defending.

I have no desire to meddle in the affairs of anyone’s private choices. But I could no sooner endorse murdering a child inthe womb as I could ignore the murder of a child in a home. When a oaret refuses or is unable to defend their children, it behooves us to intervene.

The desire for relations is normal, actig on that desire as with murder takes a conscience choice.

#13 Comment By EliteCommInc. On April 9, 2015 @ 8:25 pm

Humans regardless of age or stage of development are of equal value. The name dropping and rhetoric is reflective of the language to justify slavery or genocide. Call a human being anything other than a human being.

#14 Comment By EliteCommInc. On April 9, 2015 @ 10:16 pm

“Now that we have saved the babies from being aborted, who will save them from poverty and provide them with a chance at life, such as decent medical coverage, school, . . .”

If that child fights for his ir her kife as children in the womb tend to and decides upon brth that mom and dad are too poor, the schools are wirthless, the chances of life’s happiness, just to hard to obtain and retain and takes their life. That is a choice they can make. And while I may chagrine their choice, it is their life.

But as they are seperate human beings that just happen to reside in the womb, they are entitled to my defence, if not the mothers.

Nothing so bizaare as the modern attempt to decipher when a child should be murdered in the based on whether it has eyes or the properly formed nose.

#15 Comment By Tzx4 On April 9, 2015 @ 10:42 pm

It appears to some on the anti-abortion side, the instant an egg is fertilized and a zygote comes into existence, that adult woman becomes dehumanized and is nothing more than an incubator with zero rights over the most personal thing she has, her body, not to mention the course her life takes.
That said the further along a pregnancy goes, the more uncomfortable an abortion becomes as a concept.
The whole issue is a gigantic complex nuanced in context thing that is set within a damn near infinite set of variables. It is easier for absolutists and black and white thinkers to take their chosen side, however this is emphatically a grey area issue. I lean toward allowing the woman and her doctor to decide rather than a rigid (dare I say”Big Government”) ruling
I often wonder what King Solomon would have to say?
I also find it an amazing paradox that anti abortionists are often just fine with adults killing adults, be it warfare or capital punishment.
Mr. Paul, professing to be of the Libertarian bent, I would think he should or would at least acknowledge that there is an adult woman with desires, commitments and a life to live on her terms in the equation, and he should be a little uneasy with allowing government to extend its jurisdiction within her internal organs.

#16 Comment By Todd Jackson On April 9, 2015 @ 11:06 pm

The man is a medical doctor after all. There is a certain professional ego there. He hasn’t been marinated in customer-service inflected obsequiousness like most politicians.

#17 Comment By Sophie On April 10, 2015 @ 4:18 pm

At least Paul seems to know that birth control/the morning after pill isn’t an abortifacient. As Republicans say so often (except in the case of abortion), the government should have no involvement in your healthcare choices.

#18 Comment By JohnE_o On April 10, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

You seem to be assuming that most Americans not already committed to a “bright line” on abortion won’t like “that’s something that a woman and her doctor should decide” as a policy statement.

I suspect you might be wrong about that.

The undecided mushy middle might very well be just fine with not having to examine the question and staying out of a decision they don’t have to make for themselves.

#19 Comment By Matt Weber On April 10, 2015 @ 9:45 pm

I often wonder what King Solomon would have to say?

I imagine something like “Quit killing your children!!”

#20 Comment By Liberty On April 10, 2015 @ 11:07 pm

Rand Paul does not get ‘it’ right. He’s trying hard to sound moderate. It’s funny how conservative politicians try to hide their true views and opinions when campaigning. I will not ever vote for another republican politician until they have SEVERAL cycles of governing without attacking women’s right to choose and gays rights to marry. Every law they propose is the very opposite of ‘small government’ and pro ‘personal freedom’. DWS was exactly right. The need to terminate a late term pregnancy should be left to a woman and her doctor, not a lot of ignorant busy body theocrats who can’t be bothered to worry about the children already born.

#21 Comment By redfish On April 11, 2015 @ 2:11 am

This is basically what Newt Gingrich’s approach was, when he put late-term abortion bills up for a vote in Congress. Even though the federal bills didn’t impact anything beyond the federal level, it put Democrats in an embarrassing position of opposing them.

Except, Rand Paul still looked like he was avoiding answering the question. (And Gingrich got flack from social conservatives because he didn’t want any bills on abortion except for late-term abortion, possibly because he was secretly moderate on the issue and was just playing the politics like it needed to be played).

Sean,

Despite the insistence of pro-life individuals to artificially keep babies without brainstems alive, there are actually fetuses that are non-viable.

One could suggest non-viable fetuses as an exception, instead of making a blanket allowance for any abortions at that stage.

#22 Comment By Tim On April 12, 2015 @ 11:45 pm

Sean S.

Your point that surveys showing most late-term abortions are on-demand should be taken with a grain of salt because many of those abortions are on non-viable fetuses doesn’t really address the argument pro-lifers are making. DWS is saying as head of the DNC that women should be able to get an abortion for any reason at any stage of the pregnancy. That some late-term abortions are performed for medical reasons does not change the fact that many are not. That many late-term abortions are performed are on non-viable fetuses does not change the fact that quite a few are performed on viable fetuses. It is hard to know exactly how many, although it is safe to say the number is almost certainly higher than whatever is being reported. We saw this with partial-birth abortion, where Planned Parenthood and the CDC stated that only a few hundred of those procedures were being performed each year for medical reasons, only to learn later that thousands of them were performed each year on mostly healthy women and fetuses. The example of Kermit Gosnell and how he operated without properly keeping records is also instructive.

And the survival rates for babies born at 24 weeks are 40-80 percent. That’s hardly “exponentially low.” They are 10-35 percent for babies born at 23 weeks. We wouldn’t dismiss someone suffering from cancer as a non-person because their chances for survival were twenty percent.

And that’s even granting the supposition that a mere few weeks in development is enough to work some sort of magical metaphysical transformation that is enough to distinguish a human non-person that may be killed from a human person that is protected (a supposition that I find to be totally irrational).

And remember that a baby born at 24 weeks is actually only 22 weeks old, as we count the pregnancy as beginning at the onset of the mother’s last period.

#23 Comment By Tim On April 13, 2015 @ 11:25 pm

Ken T.

You are missing Paul’s point. He is pointing out that only Republicans seem to face difficult questions on abortion from reporters, even when the questions are purely theoretical. After all, it’s not like this country is anywhere close to banning most abortions. Democrats hold positions that are just as unpopular as Republicans do, and those positions are actually enshrined in the law. Late-term abortion on demand is really unpopular, and yet it is actually happening in this country right now. And yet Democrats rarely get asked about their support for this. Paul is calling out the media for their double standard, and he is right to do so.

#24 Comment By balconesfault On April 14, 2015 @ 1:38 pm

@Tim Late-term abortion on demand is really unpopular, and yet it is actually happening in this country right now.

Late term abortion on demand is unpopular when characterized as an abortion of convenience.

When characterized, as zic correctly did in the beginning of the these comments, as “almost always due to catastrophic medical complications” … people’s responses become a lot more nuanced.

For virtually EVERYONE the idea of a woman deciding at 38 weeks “oh, I don’t want this baby that I’ve been carrying for almost 9 months after all – time for an abortion!” is extremely distasteful.

However, with it’s a woman in consultation with her doctor deciding “I do not wish to bring into the world a baby which will have severe medical deformities which make it unlikely to live more than a few months, which will cost enormous amounts of money to maintain on life support, and which will severely tax our families resources and ability to care for our other children”, a significant portion of the population will wish to not have the state be involved in the decision.

As I’ve offered before, however – I think someone truly interested in balancing personal liberties with protection of the fetus would support the state becoming involved at that point where the state is willing to take full responsibility.

eg – instead of allowing the woman at 38 weeks to abort the fetur, the state could mandate that the woman go to a hospital, with the state picking up the tab, and undergo an induced delivery – with the state taking possession of the newborn and taking responsibility away from the family and their insurance company for all subsequent neonatal care.

Will you support this, Tim?

#25 Comment By Tim On April 14, 2015 @ 11:46 pm

balconesfault,

zic was incorrect that most late-term abortions are performed due to health problems of the mother or fetus. Surveys by the Alan Guttmacher Institute have shown that they are mostly on-demand, so it would appear that Democrats do indeed have a lot to answer for. Most partial-birth abortions had nothing to do with health problems for the mother or fetus either. We’ve been down this road before.

And I suspect that you are right in saying that most people would recoil from the thought of killing a fetus at 38 weeks. It’s just that the head of the Democratic National Committee and many in the base of the Democratic Party are not among them. Maybe reporters should probe her statement as much as they probe the typical Republican politician about exceptions to sweeping abortion restrictions that are not even close to becoming a reality anytime soon?

And I don’t understand your thought experiment. If a pregnant woman decides that she no longer wants to deal with a pregnancy at 38 weeks, I say “too bad.” We are not going to let you have the baby killed. If she wants to get out of having to pay for the delivery? Again, I say “too bad” unless she is poor and then the delivery will probably be paid for by Medicaid anyways. If she wants to put the child up for adoption/foster care? Fine by me.

#26 Comment By philadelphialawyer On April 17, 2015 @ 2:37 am

Tim:

“You are missing Paul’s point. He is pointing out that only Republicans seem to face difficult questions on abortion from reporters…Democrats hold positions that are just as unpopular as Republicans do, and those positions are actually enshrined in the law. Late-term abortion on demand is really unpopular, and yet it is actually happening in this country right now. And yet Democrats rarely get asked about their support for this. Paul is calling out the media for their double standard, and he is right to do so.”

But, even if one buys that, Paul’s own answer remains inconsistent. It is simply not a question of “when life begins” or “protecting life,” because, again, there is no question but that every zygote, embryo and fetus is “alive.” To be consistent with his talk of “life,” Paul would have to be against all of the “exceptions.” The existence of the exceptions shows that the presence of life is not the dispositive factor. That, obviously, instead, some balancing of interests must be going on.

But, as other posters have suggested, Paul does not want to admit to that, because he is running in a party in which notions like a Constitutional amendment banning abortion outright, in every State and with no “exceptions,” and “recognizing” the full “rights” of the fetus (sort of a pre natal 14th Amendment) are very popular. And so he tries to make it all about the media’s unfairness.

And, notice too, that DWS does not flinch. Seven month old “baby” or not, her answer is: leave the decision to the woman and her doctor, “Period. End of story.” So, even if the media has been unfair in not putting the tough questions to the Dems, DSW, at least, has no problem staking out a clear and consistent answer, even if, as you say, it does include a component that is unpopular in some circumstances.

In her view, the balance between the interests of the fetus and the woman should always be resolved in favor of the woman, with the only caveat being that a doctor has to sign off on the decision (which, contrary to the claim of the main article, might impact the late abortions that Paul referenced). Abortion on demand, almost. She does not deny that an embryo, etc, much less a seven month old “baby,” is alive. She does not tailor her answer for a specific audience, or trim, or equivocate.

#27 Comment By balconesfault On April 17, 2015 @ 11:39 am

zic was incorrect that most late-term abortions are performed due to health problems of the mother or fetus. Surveys by the Alan Guttmacher Institute have shown that they are mostly on-demand

Please educate me as to whether your term “on-demand” includes a woman, in consultation with her physician, deciding to terminate a late-term pregnancy because medical technology indicates that the baby will be severely disabled/deformed and likely to live a very short and painful life?

And I don’t understand your thought experiment. If a pregnant woman decides that she no longer wants to deal with a pregnancy at 38 weeks, I say “too bad.” We are not going to let you have the baby killed.

And I believe the state has a moral responsibility to take custody of the “baby” at the moment they decide it needs to be protected from the wishes of the birth mother. Otherwise you are by force of law turning the woman into an unwilling incubator for another life. I do not believe that the state has a right to do this.

I do believe that just as the state will take an actual baby away from a mother and place it in protective custody, and we can all agree that a mother has a legal and moral responsibility to turn said baby over to the care of the state rather than abuse, starve, or withhold medical care, if the state stood ready to provide for induced delivery and subsequent care of the newborn the woman would have a legal and moral responsibility to allow the state to provide these services, and not to abort the fetus.

You simply want the state to have power to enforce the woman’s enduring a pregnancy and delivery without the state taking any responsibility for the decision. That is simply wrong.

#28 Comment By tzx4 On April 18, 2015 @ 1:31 pm

Another flaw in the anti-abortion viewpoint is this. Will outlawing abortion eliminate its occurrence? The answer is no. It is at that point in the debate when the absolutist, black and white anti abortionist defaults to the grey area of compromise of position in that they will say it would at least reduce the number of abortions, but yes, they will still happen.
It is also a bit disingenuous that the party of the wealthy, the GOP represents those whose economic advantage allows then access to abortion by traveling, when the less fortunate among us are confined by economic circumstances, is the party taking the anti-abortion stand.
I will add my cynicism here too. I think that for most GOP politicians, being anti abortion is a way to leverage and string along their base. Many of them could care less about the issue otherwise, after all GOP politicians are clearly prone to decisions that kill post born humans in wars, and denial of basic social services.

#29 Comment By Tim On April 19, 2015 @ 11:29 pm

PL,

Paul stated in response to the AP that he has voted for bills in the past that had various exceptions and voted for bills in the past that had no exceptions. From what I can gather, he is opposed to abortion across the board but willing to promote legislation that allows exceptions to move the ball forward on protecting life. That’s not inconsistency, it’s prudence. If you can ban some abortions, then go ahead and do it and wait for the time when the country might be willing to go further.

Suggesting that because he might be willing to entertain some exceptions he doesn’t really believe that life is paramount is silly. Lincoln firmly opposed slavery, and yet his Emancipation Proclamation did not free the slaves in the borders states. Was it because of logical inconsistency? Or because he rightly feared that alienating the border states might jeopardize his goal of winning the war and preserving the Union (and eradicating slavery in the long run)?

What did Emerson say about this sort of foolish consistency again?

And from my POV, DWS is able to comfortably stake out an extreme position precisely because the media generally gives Dems a pass on the issue. Notice that the AP did not probe her on the statement, nor ask Hillary Clinton or Martin O’Malley whether or not they agree. To its credit, CNN probed her on her response and she did not retreat her from her previous statement at all. When pressed by Megyn Kelly of Fox she did acknowledge that third trimester abortion should not be done on a whim, which means that the balance of interests does not always favor the mother. Good for CNN and Fox, and good for DWS on her own bit of “logical inconsistency.”

#30 Comment By Tim On April 19, 2015 @ 11:52 pm

balconesfault,

Does on-demand include abortions done because of fetal deformities/medical issues? By definition, no it doesn’t.

But again, you can read Katha Pollitt’s 2003 article in the The Nation magazine putting forth the top three reasons why women have late-term abortions. Health reasons for the mother/fetus are not among those top three. You can also review various Alan Guttmacher Institute surveys showing that health problems with the mother/fetus have little to do with late-term abortion. For fun, you can read this article where the author admits that health problems for the fetus (or rape for that matter) have little to do with late-term abortion. The cherry on top is the actual late-term abortion provider Wille Parker’s comment below the article.

[5]

Remember these bits of data the next time you hear abortion rights organizations issue their talking points on late-term abortion.

As for your second part? Eh, maybe. If the artificial womb develops to that point. But what if the woman doesn’t want to do that? What if the artificial womb is too expensive for many women? We’re back to where we started.

“Otherwise you are by force of law turning the woman into an unwilling incubator for another life. I do not believe that the state has a right to do this.”

Uh, I think that it’s actually biology and her poor decision-making (unless she was raped) that have combined to turn her into an “unwilling incubator.”

But you do not believe that the state has a right to restrict the personal liberty of one person to benefit someone else? That sounds pretty darn Randian to me! Are you a Randian across the board? Or just on abortion?

#31 Comment By C On April 20, 2015 @ 12:53 pm

Tzx4 says:
April 9, 2015 at 10:42 pm
“It appears to some on the anti-abortion side, the instant an egg is fertilized and a zygote comes into existence, that adult woman becomes dehumanized and is nothing more than an incubator with zero rights over the most personal thing she has, her body, not to mention the course her life takes.”

You’re missrepresenting those you appose.Most pro-life advocates are only interested in protecting the human life in the womb.Pregnant women still have a great deal of controll over their bodies and the course of their lives. Adoption is still an option for a woman who does not wish to be a mother. Women have numerous rights other than abortion which should be recognized.

“That said the further along a pregnancy goes, the more uncomfortable an abortion becomes as a concept.”

Why? We’re talking about taking the same human life all the way through; and why should a woman lose her rights just because she’s been pregnant a little longer?

“The whole issue is a gigantic complex nuanced in context thing that is set within a damn near infinite set of variables. It is easier for absolutists and black and white thinkers to take their chosen side, however this is emphatically a grey area issue. I lean toward allowing the woman and her doctor to decide rather than a rigid (dare I say”Big Government”) ruling”

There may be gray areas (though I believe observation and reason can eventually clerrify gray areas), but the majority of abortions are used as birth control for women who voluntarily partook in the act of procreation. Let’s deal with that issue and make exceptions when we run into Greg areas. I’m not a fan of big government either, but I think the highest responsibility of government is the protection of innocent human life.

“I often wonder what King Solomon would have to say?”

He seemed to regard new life with great reverance. He thought a good mother would put their child’s life above their personal desires.

“I also find it an amazing paradox that anti abortionists are often just fine with adults killing adults, be it warfare or capital punishment.”

You must not give much consideration to this issue. Do you think it was wrong to defeat the Nazis in WWII? Do you think it was right to allow the genocide in Rawanda? You can’t see why some think it right to make losing life the penalty for taking life? Even if you disagree with that, how can you not understand the difference between demanding a penalty for a crime, and taking innocent life?

“Mr. Paul, professing to be of the Libertarian bent, I would think he should or would at least acknowledge that there is an adult woman with desires, commitments and a life to live on her terms in the equation, and he should be a little uneasy with allowing government to extend its jurisdiction within her internal organs.”

Once again, if laws are not allowed to protect innocent human life, how do you justify law at all? Also note: a woman can’t get a healthy organ removed as conveniently as she can get an abortion. Why should a woman be exempt from medical ethics only when they effect not just her own body, but the life and body of another human being?

#32 Comment By balconesfault On April 21, 2015 @ 9:53 am

Tim

Am I correct that Guttmacher defines “late term” to be after 16 weeks? Certainly this is inconsistent with your discussion of the viability of 24 week fetuses. It is this bait and switch on language that bothers me most about the manipulations of the anti-abortion crowd.

“Otherwise you are by force of law turning the woman into an unwilling incubator for another life. I do not believe that the state has a right to do this.”

Uh, I think that it’s actually biology and her poor decision-making (unless she was raped) that have combined to turn her into an “unwilling incubator.”

OK – we’re now back to slut-shaming.

And call me extreme, but I do believe that requiring a woman to unwillingly carry another human in her body is far different an imposition on personal liberties than, say, restricting ability to fill in a wetland on your property, or ability to deny blacks the right to dine at your restaurant.

#33 Comment By Tim On April 22, 2015 @ 2:19 am

Balconesfault,

Please. The dishonesty and bait and switch tactics are entirely on the side of those defending late-term abortion. Time after time abortion rights groups trot out the talking point that late-term procedures are mostly done because of severe medical problems for either the mother or the fetus, and time after time actual late-term abortion providers step forward to say: “Nope, not true.” The very same thing happened during the debate over partial-birth abortion.

And notice that the article I provided was in reference to the bill that would have banned abortion after twenty weeks, which was the late-term reference.

And no, we’re back to being clear-eyed about reality. You make it sound as if the government would be going around impregnating women against their will and then forcing them to give birth.

And given that the context here is late-term abortion, suggesting that not being able to kill another human being that you have almost certainly freely chosen to bring into the world is the only sort of infringement of liberty going on (I’m pretty sure that filling in a wetland or refusing service to someone doesn’t involve homicide), then I’ll gladly call you extreme. Most civilized people would.

#34 Comment By balconesfault On April 24, 2015 @ 10:26 am

And notice that the article I provided was in reference to the bill that would have banned abortion after twenty weeks, which was the late-term reference.

The Guttmacher Institute surveys that I found online separated abortions into pre- and post- 16 weeks. Perhaps you have reference to another study which validates your conclusions that you failed to link to?

You make it sound as if the government would be going around impregnating women against their will and then forcing them to give birth.

No. I make it sound as if women engage in consensual sex without intention to procreate, often using birth control, and become pregnant. You believe that there should be an enforcable legal mechanism to force this woman to carry the fetus conceived thusly to term. I do not – and do not believe that the state should interfere until the point where the state is ready and willing to pay for the consequences of their decision that they must protect the fetus from the will of the woman.

This is why I believe that requiring the woman to go to have a state-funded induced delivery, with the state taking possession of the newborn, is the proper solution to address your belief that the fetus needs to be protected from the woman whose body it occupies.

#35 Comment By philadelphialawyer On April 24, 2015 @ 11:57 pm

Tim:

Lincoln made it clear that he was acting on expediency when he wrote the EP. See his response to Horace Greely in that regard. He defends his “exceptions” explicitly in terms of practicality, while still believing in total emancipation as a matter of principle and as the ultimate goal. Lincoln didn’t say to Greely, “Why don’t you go ask the Democrats what they think!”

But I have no way of knowing whether Paul thinks the “exceptions” he has supported in the past in terms of abortion are valid and necessary in their own right, or were only approved by him as a matter of expediency. His statements about “life” point in that direction, but it seems as if he is hedging, so that he can perhaps claim the contrary if he wins the nomination.

Whereas DWS’ statement, on the other hand, is self explanatory, and thus does not lend itself to “probing.” She supports abortion as long as a doctor will go along with it. Seven month old “baby” or not. And, according to you, even at that, the “media” (including “liberal” CNN) DID probe her views. I would also point out that the Roe arrangement, which the Democrats support, is explicitly based on balancing of interests, and thus all or nothing principles are not implicated as much as they are by anti abortion stances predicated on the definition of “life” or “human life.”

#36 Comment By Uncle Billy On April 29, 2015 @ 9:04 pm

The GOP needs to come out in favor of contraception. If they don’t they are going to lose.

#37 Comment By Tim On May 2, 2015 @ 12:56 am

balconesfault,

If you read through the links in the article I provided, you will find a recent study of women having abortions after twenty weeks while primarily discussing how late these women discover their pregnancy. You will also find no reference to catastrophic medical problems that led to a statistically significant percentage of these abortions. I would say that this study, plus the other data I have provided–including the testimony of late-term abortion providers–seals the deal that most late-term abortions are on demand.

And I am fully aware of your views that human beings may be deliberately killed if they are found to be inconvenient. Maybe the development of the artificial womb will lead to the sort of compromise you stake out. I might be willing to accept it, although it would require the overturning of Roe, which makes it doubtful your side would.

PL,

Paul has supported the Human Life Amendment in the past, so I’m pretty sure whatever hedges he makes on the issue are purely for practical reasons. And I gave credit to CNN for probing DWS on the issue. That she admitted to Fox that third trimester abortion on demand was a problem is a step back from what she had initially stated, which rebuts your claim that what DWS said was entirely self-explanatory. After all, most late-term abortions are on-demand, and the only “doctor” involved in the decision is a late-term abortionist she has just met who has a financial stake in her going ahead with the procedure.

And of course, the only reason why we are discussing DWS at all is because Rand Paul forced the issue. The Associated Press certainly isn’t interested in examining the Democrats’ support for late-term abortion on demand. At least not nearly as much as they press Republicans on the issue.

And given how broadly Doe vs. Bolton defined the health exceptions for second and third trimester abortions, I’d say the balancing of the interests was rather one-sided in favor of the woman. If a woman has a “right” to an abortion for any reason in the first trimester, and may have one in the second or third trimester if her health may be adversely affected in any way, then that sure comes across as an all or nothing principle to me. It certainly did to the fifty states that had their laws restricting or outlawing abortion wiped out overnight.

#38 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 4, 2015 @ 11:22 pm

Schulz and Paul have both failed to recognize the unavoidable nuances of gestation.

To claim that a zygote is a human person is absurd, except in the most abstract theological sense, and Rand’s outburst doesn’t make that claim — although he may believe it to be true.

To claim that a fully formed baby that could be delivered alive and capable of surviving independent of its mother at any time is subject to a private decision by the mother and a doctor is also absurd — and Wasserman-Schultz didn’t actually address that either, although she may believe exactly what the above post construes her statement to mean.

Actually, both statements could be construed in the manner their respective critics allege.

The rational question for civil law delving into a complex biological process is, where to draw the line between two evident extremes: no a zygote is not a person, and no a baby is not a mass of inchoate tissue.

I’m generally sympathetic to moving the line back to 20 weeks, EXCEPT where there is substantial damage to the fetus that could not be discovered earlier, or, of course, serious threat to the life or health of the mother. (Leading questions to elicit a sudden expression of unspecified suicidal thoughts should not carry much weight).

Voters deserve better than the partisan shots Paul and W-S are engaged in. Actually, voters deserve better than either the DNC or the RNC seem capable of offering.