February 25, 2008

While I was watching and transcribing Mike Huckabee's appearance on SNL this weekend, I kept thinking he is so good at being likeable that if you don't have a clear sense of what he really stands for, it would be easy to be swayed by Huckabee. But then a story like this comes down the wires and you realize that it is really, really important to know EXACTLY what candidates do stand for. Denver Post:

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on Monday endorsed a proposed Colorado Human Life Amendment that would define personhood as a fertilized egg.

The former Arkansas governor and Baptist minister also supports a human-life amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Huckabee spoke favorably about the Colorado ballot initiative, sponsored by 20-year-old Kristi Burton and her Colorado for Equal Rights group, during his Friday visit to Colorado Springs.

On Monday, Huckabee lent official support to the measure.

"This proposed constitutional amendment will define a person as a human being from the moment life begins at conception," Huckabee said in a statement.

"With this amendment, Colorado has an opportunity to send a clear message that every human life has value," Huckabee said. "Passing this amendment will mean the people of Colorado will protect the sanctity of life from conception until natural death occurs."

Well, it's actually a little stickier than that, Huckabee. After all, would we consider a woman who had a miscarriage (also known medically as a "spontaneous abortion" *gasp*) a murderer? What if she conceives ectopically? Would the doctor who operates on her to remove the pregnancy so that the mother will not die also a murderer? Michael Froomkin points out another issue: citizenship.

Aside from the not-so-small point that citizenship is a federal issue and it is not clear from first principles whether the federal rule should or would follow the state rule, there’s obviously something powerful about this logic especially if the Colorado model were ever to be adopted on a national basis.

In that case, if a noncitizen female conceives a child in the US, presumably it would be wrong to deport the blastocyte or fetus. And that means we can’t deport the mother either. At least until the kid is born after which we are, as news reports from all over show, perfectly willing to deport mothers of small citizens if the mothers lack proper documentation.

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