THE LATEST
« »

Search Archives:

Custom Search

Monday, August 20, 2012

Being 'Pro-Life' Means Lying Very, Very Easily

Pro-choice protest
When Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri said that it was almost impossible for a woman to get pregnant from "legitimate rape," he was repeating a lie that's been around for a while now. The "pro-life" camp has always been the "pro-lie" camp. Whether it be linking abortion to breast cancer and depression or claiming that nine months of pregnancy -- with all the medical expense that goes with it -- is merely "inconvenient," they've always lied without hesitation.

And there's a reason why they lie so easily -- they believe they're 100%, absolutely correct. Further, they believe their position is endorsed by their god and, through a simplistic process of elimination, assume it's opposed by their devil. The enemies of the anti-abortion movement are the allies and minions of Satan, so any tactic -- no matter how dishonest and shameful -- is smiled upon by Jesus. This is not a political debate, this is war. Nothing is off the table. Deceit is an acceptable and legitimate tactic in war. Especially when that war is as fundamental as a battle of good vs. evil. If ever the ends justified the means, it's in a cosmic struggle for the fate of the universe.

All of which makes statements made by "pro-life" politicians worthy of a grain of salt, as Akin's comment so clearly demonstrates. If you believed a lie could save America from it's worst and most dangerous enemy, you'd do it. So will they.

But in terms of utility, it turns out that the "legitimate rape" line wasn't the wisest lie. Legal abortion in cases of rape and incest -- which the hardcore anti-abortion folks oppose -- is actually a very popular idea. Even among those who otherwise oppose abortion. And dismissing rape is never a smart thing to do in any context. This may very well cost Akin an election that he was winning just days ago.

↓ CONTINUED AFTER THE JUMP ↓

FiveThirtyEight:

No two controversies are alike, and we’ll have to wait for polling data to see what impact this has on the race. But based on some loose historical precedents, the remarks could be enough to swing the polls to Ms. McCaskill.

In August 2006, Senator George Allen, then the Republican incumbent in Virginia, was videotaped using the term “macaca” at a rally, which was interpreted by some as a racial epithet against a staff member for his Democratic opponent, James Webb.

The polls quickly shifted against Mr. Allen. He had led by an average of 12 points in the three polls conducted just before his comments. But his lead was whittled down to just two points in the three polls conducted just after the remark, and Mr. Allen eventually lost the race by about 10,000 votes.

Akin's "Macaca moment?" A lot of Republicans believe so and are calling on him to drop out of the race before he does any more damage to the party or the anti-abortion cause.

So now the smart tactic is to look at all the outrage and denounce the lie. And if you have to lie in that denouncement, well... the soul of America is at stake, so the Lord will forgive you. Lying about lying can get confusing, but with practice you get the hang of it.

New York Times:

A campaign statement that neither Mitt Romney nor Representative Paul D. Ryan opposes abortion in rape cases contradicts Mr. Ryan’s earlier position on the issue.

[...]

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,’’ a Romney campaign spokeswoman, Amanda Henneberg, wrote.

Although Mr. Romney has stated this position before, Mr. Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Wisconsin, has opposed abortion in the case of rape. During his first run for the seat in 1998, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that he opposed abortions in all cases except to save the life of the mother.

But a hypothetical Vice President Ryan wouldn't be calling the shots, right? What about Pres. Romney? That's a little harder to figure out.

Mother Jones:

In 2007, Romney told ABC News he supported a "Human Life Amendment" to the Constitution that would "make it clear that the 14th Amendment's protections"—equal protection under the law, for example—"apply to unborn children." The proposed amendment, long a part of the Republican Party platform, is the national equivalent of the state-level personhood measures that have proliferated in recent months. Both the state and federal versions of the proposals would extend legal rights to early term fetuses, effectively making all abortions illegal. Voters in Mississippi considered, and rejected, a ballot initiative on the matter on November 8, but activists recently launched similar efforts in Wisconsin and Georgia.

Here's a shocker -- that's a flip-flop for Romney, who previously said he believed "that abortion should be safe and legal in this country" and vocally supported Roe v. Wade. By the first statement was made when he was trying to out-liberal Ted Kennedy in a run for his Massachusetts senate seat and the support for Roe came when he was playing liberal as the governor of that same state. I think it's been well-established that Romney's most deeply held convictions are the product of determining what is most likely to get applause, so that casts doubt on those positions. Throw in the propensity of anti-choicers to lie and Romney's position on post-rape abortion becomes a complete mystery.

The best we can do when trying to figure out Mitt's real position on all this is to make an educated guess; was he lying back then or is he lying now?  Since he chose a tireless opponent of abortion in all circumstances to be a heartbeat away from his presidency and has expressed support for a "Human Life Amendment," I think it's safe to assume that protecting Roe hasn't been foremost in his thinking.

I'm going to go ahead and make what I consider the safer assumption that he's lying now. The issue's too important to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that -- for perhaps the first time in his entire political career -- Mitt Romney is not pandering with an eye on poll numbers.

-Wisco

[image source]


Get updates via Twitter