So here is the title of the original post I was writing about this:
Trump Says Something Anti-Abortion Activists Have Been Drooling for Decades to Hear a Politician Say, Anti-Abortionists Promptly Do What They Do Best: Lie.
Yeah, that’s a mouthful. But since this is Foster Disbelief and not The Daily Mail, I decided to scrap it and start over.
For some reason Donald Trump, the(gag) front running candidate for the Republican presidential (I just threw up a little) nomination, had a sit down interview with Chris Matthews the other day. I didn’t watch it. I actually stayed as far away from the television as I possibly could when MSNBC aired the interview. No thank you. I can suffer through a Trump interview to see if anything is newsworthy. I can tolerate watching Chris Matthews on MSNBC because I respect the other voices that make up MSNBC’s political coverage. Matthews interviewing Trump is just a black hole of idiocy that I won’t even pretend I would willingly put myself through. (Seriously, listening to Matthews go on about the possibility of a Clinton/Kasich unity ticket during one night of MSNBC’s primary coverage had me contemplating either switching to Fox News or puncturing my ear drums with an ice pick. He’s the liberal answer to Bill O’Reilly. Something that, along with the ideological purity police, is something we really don’t need.)
And seemingly for no reason but to punish me and force my poor ears to hear clips of the interview all week, Trump decided to show anti-abortion activists that he really was one of them, honestly, scout’s honor, no take backs, no crossed fingers, he swears.
At a taping of an MSNBC town hall that will air later, host Chris Matthews pressed the Republican presidential front-runner Trump for his thoughts on abortion policy. Trump said he’s in favor of an abortion ban, explaining, “Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places, but we have to ban it,” according to a partial transcript from Bloomberg Politics.
Matthews asked if there would be a punishment for women who received abortions if they were made illegal. Trump responded, “There has to be some form of punishment.” He elaborated that the punishment would have “to be determined” and the law will depend on the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation battle and the 2016 election.
Matthews, to his credit (I feel dirty for typing that), was all over Trump like a bad toupee rather than allowing the reality show star to word salad his way out of the question. Progressives immediately held it up as yet another extremist view held by Trump, Wow, that’s a surprise. Liberals were going to disagree with Trump’s position on abortion no matter what he said. Trump’s running as a Republican, which means he has to be “pro-life.” (What a great political system we’ve built on the corpses of the founding fathers. Sigh.) What was surprising was the response by anti-abortion activists as they rushed to distance themselves from Trump.
The central goal of the pro-life movement may be to eliminate abortion, but to the vast majority, the responsibility doesn’t lie with the woman getting an abortion, but the doctor who is providing it.
Even the most staunch pro-life groups were quick to express their disappointment with Trump’s initial statements. Susan B. Anthony List and March for Life, two of the country’s most prominent anti-abortion groups, tweeted that women who have abortions need “healing and compassion” and that punishment is “solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of life.”
Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and a long-time pro-lifer, says that the responsibility of an illegal abortion “should fall on abortion providers, not the women who turn to them in desperation.”
“If Donald Trump is going to run successfully as a pro-life candidate, it’s time he started listening to the pro-life movement,” he says.
Trump’s Republican rivals said much of the same.
“But of course women shouldn’t be punished,” Republican candidate John Kasich said. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate response. It’s a difficult enough situation.”
Fellow GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz echoed Scheidler’s sentiments, saying in a statement that being pro-life isn’t just about the “unborn child,” but the mother as well – something that is “far too often neglected.” The movement, he said in a statement, is about “creating a culture that respects her and embraces life.”
“Of course we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world,” he said.
Me thinks the activists doth protest too much. The only reason pro-life people claim they don’t want the woman punished is because that is a horrifically unpopular position in the larger population. I am sure some anti-abortion activists honestly do not want the woman punished beyond being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, just as I’m also sure some of them really want to reduce the amount of abortions and would support proven programs such as Colorado’s IUD program, and some of them think those who shoot abortion providers are murderers.
And if the majority of anti-abortion activists share those beliefs, if they truly want to end abortion and not punish women for being sexually active, if they’re “pro-life” position prohibits the assassination of providers and the bombing of clinics, then those people need to make that clear and stop providing cover for the more extreme members of their movement.
It is the same argument I make to “moderate” Christians. Shrugging your shoulders and saying that the gay haters aren’t “real Christians” doesn’t cut it. In fact, going from the Bible, most of the time the fundamentalists have more textual support for their position. Hey “moderate pro-lifer?” When you call abortion “murder” and insist it is the “American Holocaust,” you are giving coverage to the clinic bombers and doctor killers, just as the moderate Christian who argues for the infallibility of the Bible protects the anti-gay bigots.
Watching Ted Cruz attack Trump over this issue is even more rich. The “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition that Ted loves pointing out, is co-chaired by the president of Operation Rescue, Troy Newman. Newman wrote the book “Their Blood Cries Out,” which was written before anti-abortionists began softening their language to find more support. Here’s a telling passage (and I urge you to read the whole article from Right Wing Watch.)
While Newman never explicitly calls for the execution of women who have had abortions, as he does abortion providers, he makes very clear that he sees these women as equally culpable for the supposed crime.
He tells the story of a woman in California accused of paying two men $1,000 and some “sexual favors” to murder her husband. Both the woman and the men who executed the hit, he reports, received the same sentence. How, Newman asks, is this different from abortion?
There was no outpouring of public concern from the community declaring her a victim of society. There were no help centers set up to give aid to all future contract killers so that they might find alternatives to murdering their husbands. The churches did not welcome her on the condition that neither of the parties would discuss the crime. There was no legislation brought forward by the National Organization for Women to pardon her and all future murderesses. There was no sympathy publicly expressed for her — only the satisfaction that comes from witnessing justice.
Why, then, do we consider any differently the women who seek to hire killers to murder their pre-born children? Why the hesitancy to say that not only the mothers, but also the fathers who willfully abort their babies, are guilty of murder? Why is there such outrage expressed at the notion that those who know of the crime but do not intervene, like most of the churches in America, share a portion of the guilt?
Who holds the fathers, the mothers, the neighbors, the pastors, and the bystanders guilty? Who would dare?
God can! God does!
By comparing abortion directly to any other act of premeditated contract killing, it is easy to see that there is no difference in principle. However, in our society, a mother of an aborted baby is considered untouchable where as any other mother, killing any other family member, would be called what she is: a murderer.
“I am grateful to receive the endorsement of Troy Newman,” Cruz said. “He has served as a voice for the unborn for over 25 years, and works tirelessly every day for the pro-life cause. We need leaders like Troy Newman in this country who will stand up for those who do not have a voice.”
How extreme is Newman?
“Today’s scheduled execution of Paul Hill is not justice, but is another example of the judicial tyranny that is gripping our nation. A Florida judge denied Rev. Hill his right to present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day. Our system of justice is based upon ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ but in Rev. Hill’s case, there was no justice because the court prevented him from presenting the legal defense that his conduct was justifiable defensive action.
“There are many examples where taking the life in defense of innocent human beings is legally justified and permissible under the law. Paul Hill should have been given the opportunity to defend himself with the defense of his choosing in a court of law. [Operation Rescue West press release, 9/3/03, via Media Matters]
How about banned from Australia extreme?
Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, had been scheduled to begin a speaking tour in Australia on Friday. But immigration officials canceled his visa before he left the United States after Australian politicians raised concerns that he might encourage violence against abortion providers or women seeking the procedure.
He managed to board a flight from Los Angeles despite not having a valid visa but was detained by immigration officers at Melbourne Airport while trying to enter the country on Thursday.
Terri Butler, a Labor member of the Australian Parliament, had called for the government to revoke Mr. Newman’s visa this week. In a letter to Mr. Dutton, she cited passages from a book that Mr. Newman co-wrote that called for abortion doctors to be executed. [New York Times, 10/2/15]
Anti-abortion activists may spend the whole week screaming that they don’t want women punished for having an abortion. Just like they claim they aren’t against contraception when it serves their purposes, just like they claim they are against violence in the aftermath of each clinic bombing or doctor assassination.
What matters is their language when no one is watching. The stuff they say when they are surrounded by only true believers. As they continue to escalate the debate with inflammatory language. As they publish the names and home addresses of providers. As they unscientifically claim one contraception method after another is actually abortion.
It is about ending abortion. It is also about taking reproductive control away from women and forcing them back into the kitchen. If it was honestly all about abortion we live in a nation that is rich enough to practically eliminate elective abortions. Abortion could be nothing but a procedure that occurs only during the current “exceptions.” Rape, incest and the life of the mother or non-viable pregnancy. We could provide every woman of reproductive age contraception. We could turn abortion into an incredibly rare procedure, rather than one that is more common than anyone realizes. But there’s no slut shaming involved there, and it doesn’t serve to reinforce the patriarchy.
Trump says some insane shit. Trump takes some extreme positions. Don’t buy the lie that this (even though he did walk it back later) is one of them. This is a mainstream belief in the GOP. It just isn’t one they like outsiders to know about.