Pushing for maternal martyrdom
This is how a powerful interest group gains influence in a contested presidential primary:
Last night, four GOP candidates—Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry—took part in a “tele-town hall” sponsored by Personhood USA, which was broadcast on the radio program of Steve Deace, an influential Iowa evangelical. The event demonstrated that a commitment to banning all abortion, even in cases of rape, incest, and threats to a woman’s health, is now the normative position among the party’s presidential contenders.
Indeed, the big news to come out of the forum was the rightward shift in Rick Perry’s already very conservative position. In the past, Perry has been committed to banning abortion with very narrow exceptions. But last night, he said he’d changed his mind, and now doesn’t support any exceptions at all. “This is something that is relatively new,” he said, citing a meeting with Rebecca Kiessling, a spokeswoman for Personhood USA who was adopted after her mother, a rape victim, tried and failed to abort her. “Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend the exemptions for rape and incest,” he said. “And over the course of the last few weeks, the Christmas holidays and reflecting on that…all I can say is that God was working on my heart.”Right. And so were his political consultants.
But if you want to see some real choots-paa get a load of this:
Bachmann distinguished herself with her dishonesty, claiming at one point that Obama is “putting abortion pills for young minors, girls as young as 8 years of age or 11 years of age, on [the] bubblegum aisle.” (Obama, of course, recently overrode an FDA recommendation to make emergency contraception available over the counter for all ages, infuriating women’s-health activists.)
In some alternate universe where one of these loons becomes president, they would still claim that here's nothing they could practically do to advance this goal. (Well, Gingrich could -- he's going to arrest judges who don't agree with him.) But there is huge value in getting these candidates on the record supporting something that was considered fairly cruel and barbaric outside of doctrinaire Catholicism until about five minutes ago.
This is a trend that's gaining steam, by the way. And it's fairly new in the political realm. The first time I saw congressional candidates taking this position was in 2010. And lest you think these people are just pandering to the fringe so there's nothing to worry our little heads about, remember this from this past year:
[T]he GOP-led House of Representatives, with the blessings and encouragement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and extremist religious groups such as the Family Research Council, passed a bill in a vote of 251 to 172 that would, among other things, allow doctors and hospitals to "exercise their conscience" by letting pregnant women facing emergency medical conditions die.And it's entering the popular consciousness. Witness the glowing words applied to yet another sad young woman who made the decision to forego cancer treatment in order to give birth. Perhaps you'll recall this earlier case as well, as reported by Robin Marty:
Did the "pro-life" cause really need an actual martyr? The conservative website "Hot Air" has published a doting ode to Stacy Crimm, a woman who refused chemotherapy that would save her life in order to not endanger her long awaited pregnancy.
And anti-choice supporters couldn't be more proud of her.
Tina Korbe writes:
Crimm truly did have a choice: Even if abortion were illegal, she could have opted to receive chemotherapy. That she bravely chose to place her child’s life before her own recalls forcibly to mind why the phrase “a mother’s love” has such resonance. When we talk about abortion, rarely do we talk about the ache many women feel after they choose to abort their babies. Crimm’s physical suffering must have been unimaginable — and, yet, three days before she died, she was able to hold close the fruit of her choice in what Phillips said was a perfect moment. Would that her story might help all mothers see nothing is worth the sacrifice of their own child.Crimm did have a choice, and acted out on her own wishes. But when you switch that to "nothing," including the life of the mother, is worth ending a pregnancy, well, then that's not really a choice, is it?
Evidently, the pro-life movement is now calling for women to die rather than have an abortion or even treat their illnesses if it might result in fetal death. I guess some lives are more valuable than others after all. And it isn't the woman's.
This archaic belief has now entered the national consciousness and is being validated by the Republican candidates for President.