Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ladies, Meet The Republican Presidential Candidates

Michelle Goldberg introduces four of them to you:
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.
It's like the rapist's fatherhood rights initiative!

Most attention was paid to Rick Perry's recent change of opinion. He's now ready to ban abortion for pregnant rape victims because of this:
Perry told the crowd at his campaign stop that the decision came after watching a documentary on abortion produced by former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
“That transformation was after watching the DVD, ‘The Gift of Life,’” Perry said. “And I really started giving some thought about the issue of rape and incest. And some powerful, some powerful stories in that DVD.”
Perry said a woman who appeared in the movie who said she was a product of rape moved him to change his mind about abortion.
“She said, ‘My life has worth.’ It was a powerful moment for me,” Perry said.
And of course her life has worth. But the mistake Perry makes here is the common one of confusing actual real people with potential people.

To give you an extreme example, suppose that we could ask a disembodied spirit waiting for reincarnation how it feels about not finding a suitable merging of an egg and a sperm, about having to hover and wait in that emptiness, perhaps right next to you when you had sex with a condom. What do you think it would argue?

Probably that everyone should have unprotected sex as much as possible so that it could reincarnate and get started with a life that has worth.

If you think that example has all sorts of problems, then you are in good company, because I find the forced-birthers' definition of when human personhood begins equally full of problems. Yet I must take their arguments seriously, whereas my arguments nobody takes seriously. So it goes.