From this Friday night's Piers Morgan on CNN. Ron Paul apparently believes that only women who have been raped should have the right to an abortion. But even worse, he qualified the term with the word "honest." Lauren Kelley over at AlterNet weighed in on a couple of the reasons that Paul's statements during this interview are extremely troubling, to put it mildly.
Last night, CNN's Piers Morgan sat down with Ron Paul for an interview leading up to this weekend's Nevada caucus. One of the topics Morgan brought up was abortion, and specifically a woman's right to choose if she has been raped. Paul's answer was at once befuddling and enraging, and it really gets to the heart of the anti-choice war on women's bodies and choices. [...]
There are many myths to debunk here, but I'll just quickly point out the two most obvious (and most dangerous) ones:
1. Women do get raped by their husbands and partners. That's not some out-there hypothetical. Intimate partner rape is a major problem -- and yes, it happens to well-to-do women like Ron Paul's daughters too.
2. Although Paul keeps going back to women seeking abortions late in their pregnancies, the reality is that 90 percent of abortions occur in the first trimester. So his focus on late-term abortions is disproportionate to the number of women actually seeking late-term abortions.
Ron Paul might have a few things in common with liberals when it comes to military interventions and starting wars, but it's his views on economics and his social issues like this that paint a pretty clear line as to why he's over with the extreme right wing of the Republican base on most everything else.
Full transcript below the fold and Paul's response to Morgan didn't get any better as he rambled on. It's pretty pathetic when even as big of a hack as Piers Morgan manages to make sure the audience realizes you're being completely inconsistent with your answers, which Paul was.
Paul claims he believes in "personal liberties" but apparently those liberties don't apply when it comes to a woman and her body and her reproductive rights.
MORGAN: You don't believe in abortion under any circumstances. That's something that's driven I think by your time as a doctor. You have delivered many, many babies. I read a heart rending thing you once said, that you once delivered I think a two and a half pound baby that -- as you said, you had to put into a bucket.
PAUL: Not me. I wasn't a participant. I was a very, very casual observer as a student.
MORGAN: But you witnessed this?
PAUL: Yes. I walk in a room and it happened. It was five minutes. It was over. I walked out of the room and thought, wow, what did I just see?
MORGAN: But that clearly scarred you.
PAUL: It was the lack of respect for life that dawned on me.
MORGAN: Here's the dilemma, and it's one I put to Rick Santorum very recently. I was surprised by his answer, although I sort of understood from his belief point of view that he would come up with this.
But it's a dilemma that I am going to put to you. You have two daughters. You have many granddaughters. If one of them was raped -- and I accept it's a very unlikely thing to happen. But if they were, would you honestly look at them in the eye and say they had to have that child if they were impregnated?
PAUL: No. If it's an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room. I would give them a shot of estrogen or give them --
MORGAN: You would allow them to abort the baby?
PAUL: It is absolutely in limbo, because an hour after intercourse or a day afterwards, there is no legal or medical problem. If you talk about somebody coming in and they say, well, I was raped and I'm seven months pregnant and I don't want to have anything to do with it, it's a little bit different story.
But somebody arriving in an emergency room saying, I have just been raped and there is no chemical -- there's no medical and there's no legal evidence of a pregnancy --
MORGAN: Life doesn't begin at conception?
PAUL: Life does begin at conception.
MORGAN: Then you would be taking a life.
PAUL: Well, you don't know if you're taking a life either, because this is an area that is -- but to decide everything about abortion and respect for life on this one very, very theoretical condition, where there may have been a life or not a life.
MORGAN: But here's the thing: although it is a hypothetical, it does happen. People do get raped and they do get impregnated. And sometimes they are so ashamed by what's happened that weeks go by before they may even discover they are pregnant.
They have to face this dilemma. And they are going to have a president who has a very, very strong view about this.
PAUL: This is like the proposal that the people who like abortion, endorse abortion because it's the woman's right to her body. You say, well, does that mean one minute before birth, you can kill the baby? I did this on one of the TV programs where some women were opposed to what I was saying.
I said, this nine-pound baby is in the woman. She has the right. She argues her case. I said you would abort this baby because the woman has had unfortunate some circumstances, so the doctor gets paid a handsome fee to kill this nine-pound baby?
Oh, that's not what we're talking about. But that is what they are talking about. They are talking about a human life. So a person immediately after rape, yes. It's a tough one. I won't satisfy everybody there.
But to tell you the truth, what I saw happening in the 1960s and the change in the law and -- no, the change in attitude, people were doing illegal abortions. To me it is a moral problem. It was to change the morality of the '60s, the lack of respect for life, leads to the lack of respect for liberty and all the things that I believe in.
So it was a change in morality that had the Supreme Court change the law. So I don't believe the change in the law is the magic cure. I do believe, though, very sincerely, if we don't have an understanding of life and have a lot of respect for life, I can't defend people on their personal liberties. I can't be as tolerant as I am on how they use liberties.
So that's why I think it's really a moral issue, rather than a legal solution to all these problems. As a physician, as a gynecologist, I have had to face some of these very, very difficult problems. I understand them. Even before Roe versus Wade, many of those problems that existed, where there is no perfect answer, they were taken care of, but it was always done -- they respected the fact that they were dealing with a life.
MORGAN: Finally on this point, do you accept there is a slight contradiction between a candidate who is pro liberty, pro personal choice, pro personal responsibility in almost every other area, but on the specific area says no, you don't have choice?
PAUL: See, I don't see the inconsistency because I see the nine- pound baby that's still within the mother as deserving some protection, too. Who deserves protection? That fetus has rights, because if I do harm to him, I get sued. If you have a car accident and kill a fetus, there are legal right there. But to say that it's only the mother, it's very, very unique.
If you carry your argument to the -- all the way through, we have a right to our homes. Shouldn't we have the privacy of our homes? Do we have a right to kill the baby one minute after birth? No. Everybody say -- as a matter of fact, this is what happens: we can kill the baby before it's born and a doctor is paid. One minute after birth, if the woman who was unfortunate enough to have this baby -- if she throws the baby away, she gets arrested for a homicide.
To me, the one minute before birth and one minute after birth isn't a whole lot different.
MORGAN: You understand that to a lot of people with serious religious conviction, it is. They say life begins at conception.
PAUL: Life does begin at conception.
MORGAN: So it's a moral maze. Let's have a break.