So…the Trump abortion fiasco.
I don’t want to focus on Trump himself just yet, but rather his spinning minions. Just now (about 1:15 CT) on CNN one of his supporters/surrogates insisted that Trump was referring to what would happen if you made abortion illegal.
Hillary Clinton with Anderson Cooper last night said “if you make abortion illegal you make doctors and women criminals.” I saw people in the comments over at Ace’s place insisting that not punishing women for getting abortions was contrary to the rule of law. (I wonder what she thinks about physician assisted suicide, then?)
Furthermore this isn’t even the first situation where we’ve relieved penalties in such a way. Movements in drug addiction and prostitution enforcement for example, focus less on punishing addicts and prostitutes and more on johns and pushers. There is an acknoweldgement here that the choice may not be entirely voluntary. While direct coercion may not always be the case there’s other forms of influence: lack of support for family or cultural decay (such as a sitting president who uses the term “punished with a baby”) for example. Yes, there will always be loathsome people like Amanda Marcotte, who if she ever could not get an abortion would likely plunge the umbilical cord scissors into her newborn’s chest, but we tend not to write laws for the edge cases like this.
Returning now to Trump himself. I can’t look into his head and tell you if he’s merely faking a pro-life stance or merely idiotically uninformed. I tend to think it’s the former, but honestly it doesn’t matter. If you’re going to run for POTUS as a Republican, or any office on the GOP ticket for that matter, you should be imminently prepared for a question exactly like this.
Here’s a factoid I don’t like to tell people that often: right after Akin won his primary, but before he self destructed, I wrote his campaign a letter. I offered my expertise in bioethics and health policy to his campaign. I figured it could be an way into political consulting. The race was basically a lock, all Akin had to do was show up and smile. McCaskill was the Hillary Clinton of the MO political scene. A horrible candidate with a sore record and low favorability.
I never heard back, not even a form letter. In hindsight I dodged a bullet. Nevertheless, when I heard Akin’s “legitimate rape” I lost my shit. That was the most basic of the questions I had considered answers for. It had an incredibly easy out, a redirection away from the abortion question and refocusing on prevention and immediate response. I’ve hit back at smarter people than local TV anchors on that question. Yet he miffed it, because he was ill prepared, uniformed, and cocky. Just like Trump.